BOD putting RWC behind him

Brian O’Driscoll will lead Leinster into action against double Heineken Cup champions Leicester Tigers at the Royal Dublin Society on Saturday, with the Irish captain desperate for his side to get off to a flying start.

While Ulster and Munster have both won European club rugby’s most prized trophy, fellow Irish province Leinster have yet to reach a Heineken Cup final and knows a poor start could prove costly.

“To win it you are probably going to need to win eight out of nine games and the last three of those are against the best teams playing that year, so the winners come May will be very worthy champions,” said O’Driscoll.

“You can look at it two ways – if you win the first game or two games then you are sitting pretty in the group and confidence will grow from that.

“If you lose the first game it can go the other way and if you lose the first two you could be out so it is a matter of making sure you do not start slowly.”

O’Driscoll, Ireland’s captain in a disastrous World Cup campaign which ended with the side bowing out in the group stages, is hoping to put their disappointment in France behind them with a good run in the Heineken Cup.

“As a way of getting past a disappointing World Cup, this is fantastic,” said the Leinster skipper.

“I have to say it is a great competition to come into and we look forward to it.”

Leinster have been dealt a cruel start to their campaign with a visit from last season’s losing finalists Leicester, which O’Driscoll admits will be a difficult opener for his side.

They then travel away to Toulouse with Edinburgh the other team in their group.

“We couldn’t have asked for two tougher challenges to kick-off with,” said O’Driscoll.

“We know we are in one of the Pool of Death, but we also know that whoever comes out of the group will have a great chance to build-on that success in the knock-out phase.”

O’Driscoll is banking on the passionate home crowd to make life difficult for Leicester.

“It is going to be great atmosphere with Leicester Tigers coming over,” he said.

“It will be packed out without a spare seat and they have done some great work with pitch, allowing for the good quality running rugby we want to play.

“And with the Tigers having much the same mind set the potential is there for a great game – for everyone including the neutrals.”

Leinster fly-half Felipe Contepomi had an exceptional World Cup with third placed Argentina and O’Driscoll is looking for more of the same from the Pumas star.

“Felipe had an excellent World Cup for Argentina and he has been excellent for Leinster for a number of years,” said O’Driscoll.

“Hopefully he can translate some of that form into an all blue jersey rather than a striped one and it is great to have a player of his calibre coming in even if he has not played for us yet this season.

“I am sure he won’t be short of fitness – and confidence oozes out of every pore of his body.”


365 Digital

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