It would be understandable if Connacht’s Sean O’Brien was feeling sorry for himself this week as he underwent surgery for a shoulder injury suffered within minutes of coming on last weekend against Leinster in his first game in almost a year.
Leinster have brought the curtain down on the Heineken Champions Cup pool stages with the easiest of victories away to Wasps on Sunday afternoon that confirms for them an all-Irish home quarter-final against Ulster at the end of March.
It was a performance riddled with mistakes, so many of them elementary, but the side's reaction to adversity in the second-half, when coming from 13-0 down to claim the lead and hold out in the face of considerable pressure, was impressive.
Leinster fly out for Toulouse this morning fuelled by a stunning declaration of intent against Wasps eight days ago and, you would imagine, in the hope that they can jettison some of the hyperbole that has enveloped them along the way.
It’s all too easy to take James Ryan’s youth for granted. An instant success in the unforgiving world of professional club and international rugby, he had Guinness PRO14, Champions Cup and Grand Slam successes to his credit before the age of 22 in his first season in the senior ranks.
Five years on from the acrimonious restructuring of the European Champions Cup, the tournament’s new organisers, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have finally stumbled across what appears to be the best balance between the old Heineken Cup, as driven by the Dublin based European Rugby Cup (ERC), and the new entity.