Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt has hit back at claims that the province has persistently targeted Connacht's best players.

Connacht CEO Tom Sears was critical of Leinster when news broke yesterday that Irish second-row Mike McCarthy would be transferring to the European champions.

"We have been aware of Leinster's interest in Mike for some time. It is disappointing they have persistently targeted Connacht players in recent years, particularly when often not in the best interest of Irish rugby," Sears stated.

Schmidt, speaking at a press conference ahead of Leinster's clash with Clermont in the Heineken Cup, denied that McCarthy had been persistently targeted by his club.

"I know he used the word disappointed a lot. I'm pretty disappointed in the way that misinformation has been passed around," Schmidt said.

"To claim that we persistently pursued Mike McCarthy is just false. We have not persistently pursued Mike at all.

"I know that if you contact the IRFU they will say that we (Leinster) abided by all protocols, and those protocols are very, very clear."

There will be full live coverage of Biarritz v Connacht on a specially extended Sport at Seven on RTÉ Radio 1 on Friday 14 December from 7pm.

There will be full live coverage of Saracens v Munster on Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday 16 December from 2pm.