O’Brien: ‘Lancaster has added new dimension’

Date published: April 4 2017

Sean O'Brien is enjoying the freedom of Leinster's attacking game after the three-time champions made the Champions Cup semi-finals.

O'Brien is back in blue after featuring heavily for Ireland during the Six Nations, and the parallels and differences between the two levels are easily recognised by the back-row.

After a high-scoring win over Wasps, O'Brien acknowledges that Leinster's approach is naturally looser than a Six Nations fixture with Ireland.

"You have more of a licence with the way we are playing now with Leinster than we do at international level," O'Brien told the Irish Independent.

"The risk at international level is probably greater in terms of if the ball goes on the ground and they (the opposition) get the scraps it could be a score, whereas at the weekend we went to Wasps' end and they came back right into our 22.

"You recover a little bit easier at that level. It's just another notch down, but it's nice to go into that environment and know the way you are going to play and know that you are going to have a crack and see where it takes you.

"Different coaches have different game-plans. You stick to what they want to do."

Crediting coach Stuart Lancaster for a lot of Leinster's progress, O'Brien admitted that the former England head coach had sped up Leinster's development of their attacking structures and training.

"It was probably going that way, but he's come in and he has an awful amount of experience," O'Brien said.

"He has brought a new dimension to our attack definitely in terms of just playing, the unstructured stuff as well, the stuff that you face in games.

"That's the way we're training. He has added an awful lot to the set up."