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McLaughlin hails the impact of Schmidt

Guinness PRO12 Editor

18 May 2011

Leinster forward Kevin McLaughlin has hailed the impact of Joe Schmidt ahead of a massive two weeks for the Irish province.

The New Zealander took the helm at Leinster at the beginning of the season to guide the Dublin-based side to a Magners League and European Cup final.

Following this weekend's European Cup final, Leinster will travel to Thomond Park on May 28, to take on Munster in the Magners League Grand Final

And versatile McLaughlin, who has been know to sing bass in the RTE Philharmonic Choir, has sung the praises of Schmidt's regime.

"There's incredible cut-throat competition, like nothing I've experienced, in this squad," McLaughlin told Peter O'Reilly of the Irish Sunday Times.

"But we sat down a few weeks ago, before the Munster game, and made an agreement amongst ourselves.

"We knew a lot of big game are coming up, with very marginal calls being made and we decided then and there that every body was digging in for the squad.

"So there’s an incredible morale there at the moment, an incredible buzz. I’ve never been in a squad as tight as this before.

"We had a really good disciplinarian for the last few years in Michael Cheika, who was a really hard, tough forward, himself and really knew his forward play.

"But I think Joe maybe takes it to a different level in terms of knowledge of every position. It shocked me how much he knows about forward play.

"On top of that, Joe really hammers home this thing of being a humble squad and everyone buying into the team ethos.

"In other years, maybe we’d a tendency not to respect teams enough. We maybe tought, ’We’re Leinster and we deserve to win’ and there were numerous examples of us losing games as a result, or only scraping home.

"Having humility means not being too big for any game."