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The 'throwing blind' KBA warning O'Driscoll has about La Rochelle

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Brian O’Driscoll has issued a warning to Leinster not to expect any repeat of the semi-final looseness of the La Rochelle play when those two teams face off in this Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille. Ronan O’Gara’s French club are all that now stands between Leinster collecting their fifth European star.

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La Rochelle bagged the bragging rights in last year’s semi-final encounter and O’Driscoll has now suggested the Top 14 side will polish up their ‘Keep Ball Alive’ approach after offering up too many turnovers to Racing 92 in a close-run semi-final this month. 

It was following a win for La Rochelle at Gloucester in April last year that KBA suddenly became an acronym giddily adopted by TV commentators, who suggested that O’Gara’s team had found some creative new way of playing the game. 

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Except they hadn’t. “KBA is another way of saying offloading,” shrugged O’Driscoll when asked by RugbyPass for his explanation of a buzzword given a lot of airtime by some other rugby pundits. 

“KBA is changing the point of contact. It is not a reinvention of the wheel but it’s a nice tag to identify how a team wants to play. You could see it even in their semi-final. They were too loose on their KBA, throwing where the pass wasn’t on, throwing blind. 

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“The thing about that is you won’t have two games like they had in the semi-final where there is that looseness and some passes won’t stick. When it creates that many chances and then none come off it creates that stalemate that ensued whereas more often than not some of those passes stick, create more opportunities, score some tries and it is then the confidence builds on that. 

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“It’s the way the modern game should be played and the way both of these finalists want to play, which will hopefully lead to a lot of excitement.” While O’Driscoll reckons La Rochelle will be tidier with the ball than they were versus Racing, he is expecting a Leinster victory in Marseille. 

“On the back of what we have seen it’s very hard to see how if Leinster play that way that even La Rochelle, despite having beaten them last year, will be able to stay with them. But the bookies are being generous on twelve-point favourites for Leinster. It will be six or seven.”

  • BT Sport is the home of the European Rugby Champions Cup. The 2021/22 season concludes this weekend with Leinster vs Stade Rochelais live on BT Sport 2 at 4pm on Saturday, May 28. Find out more on how to watch at BT Sport bt.com/sport

 

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