Leinster will match Toulouse’s record of four European Cup titles if they can account for Racing 92 in Bilbao tomorrow.examines why, six years after the third of their Heineken Cup titles, the province is again on the verge of something big
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
Michael Cheika described it at the time as the biggest result in his four years at Leinster. Jamie Heaslip, one of the few survivors from that momentous afternoon who plays tomorrow, labelled it only two days ago as a major turning point for the province.
Munster, Ulster and Leinster have all given steps up to inexperienced squad members in naming their additional players for the European knockout stages next month, as former provincial Heineken Cup winners Peter Stringer and Rocky Elsom boosted squads elsewhere.
It’s amazing how much you can learn from just one round of Heineken Cup action in respect of the aspirations and approaches of the various teams. Leinster and Munster between them may have accounted for five of the last seven tournament victories but it is already abundantly clear that a serious challenge to that Irish superiority is about to manifest itself over the weeks and months to come.
AFTER 46 games and a weekend of semi-final action characterised by controversy, drama, incident and passion, the 2011 version of the World Cup has produced a carbon copy of what transpired here at the inaugural event 24 years ago — a final contested by New Zealand and France with Australia and Wales battling for the bronze medal.
THE ODDS are stacked against them and history suggests they haven’t a hope but there is something tangible about Ireland’s demeanour heading into the World Cup Pool C showdown with Australia that suggests something special is on the cards at Eden Park tomorrow morning.