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Schmidt calls for Leinster focus

Guinness PRO12 Editor

11 May 2011

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt has warned his side to keep their eye on the ball in Friday night’s Magners League semi-final clash with Ulster

The Dubliners have raced into two early leads on their way to a league double over Ulster this season.

First at Ravenhill in December, Sean O'Brien burst through the Ulster ranks for two converted tries within 15 minutes.

And then in the April return fixture at the RDS, tries from Richardt Strauss, Luke Fitzgerald and Shane Horgan saw Leinster surge into a 17-3 lead.

Leinster also have a full plate with the Heineken Cup final the following weekend. But Schmidt insists his men will be fully focussed.

"There is a risk of taking your eye off the ball because of the Heineken Cup final the following week, but we have to take each game as it comes," Schmidt told the Herald.

"It is imperative to concentrate on this game and not to look too far ahead. We haven’t conceded a match all season at The RDS and we are very focused on continuing that record.

"Even though we have beaten Ulster twice this season, in the last 30 minutes of both fixtures they have had the better of us.

"At this stage it is only about managing two games, because we don’t know if we will make it into the Magners League Grand Final. If we go on to make it three games then we will glue together what’s left.

"The good thing is that four or five weeks ago we didn’t think we were going to make it into the play-offs.

"But we picked up, and other results went our way, and we have ended with a home game against Ulster in the semi-finals.

"The difference about playing Ulster now is there is something at stake because it is a knock-out situation."