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Leinster under pressure - McLaughlin

10th January 2013 10:40

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Kevin McLaughlin Leinster HEC 2012

Kevin McLaughlin: Desperate to stay in Heineken Cup

Leinster back-rower Kevin McLaughlin knows the importance of victory in Saturday's Heineken Cup tie with the Scarlets in Dublin.

After back-to-back defeats to Clermont, Leinster must beat the Welsh region - and potentially with a bonus point - to stay in contention for a spot in the quarter-finals..

Those losses to Clermont mean Leinster are trailing the French side by eight points on the Pool Five table.

But what makes the three-times champions' task even more difficult is that Exeter, who they face away from home next weekend in the final group match, are just a point behind them in third place in the standings.

McLaughlin admits that there is plenty of pressure on them to avoid failing to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since the 2007/08 tournament.

"There's an element of the season almost starting now or almost ending now," he told the ERC website.

"As a team we don't like the thought of being out of Europe in January - we kind of look at January as the make-or-break month for the team.

"Obviously, the PRO12 is starting to pick up now. But we're a team that has been at the top of Europe for the last few years and we want to stay there.

"We've put ourselves in this position now, so it's going to be very much a case that, hopefully, our season is starting. We desperately don't want it to end.

"But I don't think we've ever been in this tight a situation in my time in Leinster.

"There is definitely an element of extra pressure there, but I think our attack has definitely sharpened up a little bit. With the internationals back, I think we are functioning better.

"We are playing with more confidence and there's no reason why we can't score a few tries at the weekend."

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Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
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Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
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Sunday , October 19
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
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Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
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