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Schmidt helps create happy home for returning World Cup troops

Guinness PRO12 Editor

11 Oct 2011

Joe Schmidt admits he is hurting for his Irish contingent heading home early from New Zealand but insists his Leinster side have at least created a positive atmosphere for them to return to.

It promised to be a doubly disappointing Saturday in Leinster on October 8 as not only had Ireland’s World Cup hopes been dashed by Wales 22-10, but Schmidt’s troops found themselves 20-8 behind at half-time to Connacht just hours later.

However, the Leinstermen produced a stirring comeback and scored 22 unanswered after the interval to lift spirits around the RDS.

That was their fourth RaboDirect PRO12 win of the season and lifts Leinster to third in the table, a mean feat considering the number of World Cup absentees coach Schmidt has had to deal with.

And while Schmidt insists he would rather his returning cavalry still be fighting for World Cup glory, he is pleased he has at least created a solid base for their return.

“I've spoken to a couple of them,” he said. “They're down, obviously. That was an incredibly disappointing way to finish what had been such an incredibly exciting tournament for them.

“In a lot of ways they don't deserve what they got, but that's the nature of sport. For some of those Irish guys, they might take a little while to bounce back up.

“At least we have put ourselves in a pretty good position here so when they filter back in to us, they'll be coming into a positive environment and they'll bounce back quickly.

“We have 13 games on the trot and we're going to need everyone fit and on deck. There are some guys who have played less than others.

“They'll have bumps and bruises and we'll have to work our way through that once they start to come back in.”