Dan Sheehan knows exactly why Leinster keeping falling at the final hurdle

Final hurdle.

There’s another big knockout match on the horizon for Leinster this weekend as the Irish province looks to put past failures behind them and climb the European mountain once again.

The four-time winners have been lauded as the best club team in the world for many years now, but it’s hard not to criticise that moniker when they haven’t won the Champions Cup since 2018, or a league title since 2021.

They’ve been to the last two Champions Cup finals but if you’re second at this level – you might as well be last. These guys are an assembly of some of the best players in the world – they want silver trophies, not silver medals.

So why do Leinster keep failing in the URC and the Champions Cup at the business end despite dominating the entire season on both fronts almost every year? It’s simply down to being too complacent, according to hooker Dan Sheehan

The Ireland international believes Leinster have been guilty of that in recent seasons but it sounds like they’re not gonna let that happen this weekend as they look to overcome Premiership leaders Northampton in the quarter-finals.

“That was by no means our final but it was a must-win obviously to get to the next stage,” Sheehan said of the win over La Rochelle in the quarter-finals.

“We have been good this year at making sure we are not getting ahead of ourselves. We have been in the past where we have come up short, probably looking too far ahead maybe or getting a bit too complacent in either URC or Champions Cup.

“It was nice to have the two weeks here to really hone in on Northampton, who we haven’t seen in a couple of years. We are not as familiar with them as the likes of La Rochelle who come up three/four years on the trot, so it was nice to get a good week’s prep last week to just focus on Northampton.”

Sheehan also dismissed any notion that the Ireland players looked fatigued towards the end of the Six Nations following their surprise defeat to England in the penultimate round.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of it. Completely wrong read,” Sheehan said.

“It’s natural that this part of the season bodies aren’t 100pc. You’ve got to front up a little bit, you’ve got to play with niggles or whatever, but I think as a professional player in the Leinster and Irish squad, this is the most exciting part of the season. You have to bring everything, more energy.

“We’ve come up short how many times the last couple of years and we know what it means to this club, this competition.

“So I think we’re in a really good place, I think the energy levels are good. I think that was a big part of us not travelling to South Africa, to make sure the energy levels were there.

“I think everyone’s excited to get going now for the last few weeks of the season.”

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