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Schmidt praises Nacewa as Leinster claim ‘lucky’ Connacht win

Guinness PRO12 Editor

3 Jan 2012

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt sympathised with Connacht counterpart Eric Elwood after a smash-and-grab RaboDirect PRO12 victory on New Year’s Day.

Isa Nacewa kicked all Leinster’s points in the 15-13 victory while their opponents struggled with the boot – missing five kicks despite tries from Tiernan O'Halloran and Ethienne Reynecke.

Matthew Jarvis and Miah Nikora were guilty of missing the decisive kicks for Connacht, who have now lost eight league games in a row, with Nikora’s last-gasp drop goal dropping agonisingly short.

Schmidt, whose side have now won nine RaboDirect PRO12 games in succession and sit six points clear at the top of the standings, admitted his side didn’t deserve the victory and praised the composure of his Fijian fly-half.

"Isa (Nacewa) was as unruffled as ever,” said Schmidt.

“He got five out of five and was kicking absolutely superbly while they missed five kicks and that was the difference. That is a tough result for them.

"I thought Miah Nikora did a great job to take the chance when he did. I thought he struck it pretty well. The gust of wind that pushed it back was unlucky for them.

"That would sum up their night. They were very unlucky. When you add that to Gloucester, to Harlequins away, where they scored two tries to one, they just can't buy a trick at the moment.

"I would sympathise with Eric (Elwood). It was a resolute performance tonight."

Despite the win, Schmidt was concerned with his side’s lack of discipline as both Leo Cullen and Isaac Boss sin-binned in the second half.

He added: "We looked rattled. That is our responsibility. We've got to be able to cope in that situation."

"I was very happy with the first 50 minutes in what were very tough conditions to lead at 9-3 at half-time but I don't think we coped with the sin-bin very well.”