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12th May 2018

Donnacha Ryan not making any excuses for Champions Cup final loss

Jack O'Toole

Racing second-row Donnacha Ryan has said that his side can have no excuses for their heartbreaking Champions Cup final loss to Leinster on Saturday.

Racing replacement Remi Tales missed the chance to slot an equalising drop goal with the last kick of the game as Leinster won their fourth European title with a 15-12 win over the Parisians in Bilbao, Spain.

Tales was a late replacement for substitute fly-half Dan Carter – who withdrew before the game with a hamstring injury – and was brought into the match after just three minutes when first-choice fly-half Pat Lambie went down with a knee injury.

“It was very disappointing,” said Ryan.

“We thought we had control heading into the last 10 minutes of the game. It was just discipline that let us down and a lack of communication in defence. We needed to work harder in defence but credit to Leinster their ball retention was very good.”

Ryan acknowledged that the loss of Lambie and Carter were significant setbacks but that their injuries could not be used by the squad as an excuse for defeat.

“Remi came in there and did a great job, it’s obviously difficult conditions and he wouldn’t have had many reps during the week.

“They’re no excuses, we’ve been playing together all year. I thought we wee in good shape in the last 10 minutes but discipline let us down and there’s no excuses for that.”

Racing conceded 13 penalties in comparison to Leinster’s 10 with both sides missing their share of goal kicks.

Johnny Sexton missed two penalty shots in the second-half while Racing scrum-half Teddy Iribaren missed his opportunity from the halfway line.

Ryan said that Racing looked to target the Leinster breakdown from the start but that they were unable to maintain their intensity after some initial success at slowing down their ball.

“They [Leinster] have ball retention ratings in the high 90’s so we had to attack their breakdown and I thought we probably did that for the most part of the game, but we had to keep doing it for 80 minutes and we didn’t.

“It was obviously very disappointing but credit to Leinster, they haven’t lost a game all season and they’re obviously champions.”

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