Lancaster: "The failure to make the knockout stage last year is not the main driver for Leinster"

The Leinster coach was speaking ahead of their match with Northampton tonight

Lancaster: "The failure to make the knockout stage last year is not the main driver for Leinster"

Stuart Lancaster Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Leinster coach Stuart Lanacaster believes last season's failure to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup is not the main motivator for the province this year.

However, the former England head coach believes there was disappointment across the board in Ireland that it became an Anglo-French affair.

Speaking to the Guardian, Lancaster said: “The failure to make the knockout stage last year is not the main driver for Leinster, but having spoken to coaches from other teams there is a clear sense of disappointment that only teams from England and France went through.

"The European Cup is a massive motivator for the PRO12 teams and I do not see it becoming an Anglo-French affair again. There is a slight difference in the overall quality of the PRO12 and the Premiership, but across the board at the top end of the PRO12, teams are well equipped for Europe.”

Speaking on his role with Leinster so far, Lancaster said: “For me it is about attack and defence which is a change from my England role. I am really enjoying it, able to just think about training sessions and seeing progress.

"Leinster have a group of talented players who were coached by Joe Schmidt and Matt O’Connor, so have a good framework in attack. I have tried to add my personality to it.”

Leinster travel to Franklin's Gardens tonight sitting on top of their pool but are only two points ahead of bottom placed Northampton. 

The other game in the group sees Castres travel to Montpellier on Sunday.