Sacked on the back of England’s dismal World Cup showing on home soil in 2015, the Leinster senior coach now finds himself implicated, indirectly, in Ireland’s tortured 2019 campaign which was brought to a limp end by the All Blacks in Tokyo.
O’Brien missed what should have been his final game for his home province due to a hip injury but captain Sexton asked the Tullow Tank, who will depart Leinster for London Irish after the World Cup, to take the captain’s role and lift the trophy after a hard-fought victory in Glasgow.
The target on Leinster’s back has just got bigger. That’s the way it has always been for champions. First up, it’s Munster gunning for a win over the newly crowned European champions that would propel them into a third Guinness Pro 12/14 final in four seasons.
Every position in the back line has been filled by Leinster’s Isa Nacewa, including scrum-half where he excelled in one game last season when Luke McGrath was sinbinned. The veteran New Zealander even scored a try while holding that fort, writes
There are any number of arbitrary ways to measure a team’s progress, but it seemed the obvious thing to think back to Leinster’s semi-final loss to Clermont Auvergne last April as they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on Saturday evening.