Following the disappointment of their weekend stalemate with Benetton Treviso, Leinster are facing a quick turnaround before they welcome Guinness Pro12 leaders Ospreys to the RDS on Saturday afternoon.
With six points separating the teams in the Pro12, a second successive home triumph would certainly boost Leinster’s play-off aspirations, but having tasted defeat against the Welsh side in the 2012 grand final, in-form Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan is well aware of the threat they pose.
“Out of any team in the league, they’re the ones who seem to beat us most. We drew and lost to them in the league last year and beat them in the Heineken Cup,” Ryan remarked.
“The RDS is almost their fortress because they’ve won here so many times. They’re one of the teams who, even though they have 10 odd internationals away, they still have good depth and are still a good side. We certainly have to really up our game from last weekend.”
After making a sizeable impression in Leinster’s back-row, the 24-year-old received a call-up to the Ireland squad for the Autumn internationals, and subsequently made his debut in the Test against Georgia.
Now he has the experience of playing in the green jersey under his belt, Ryan is eager to remain in contention.
“It’s funny, at the start of the season I tend to set goals, as close as three weeks. My goal was to play with Leinster, then to play in the ‘Heinekens’ and then my longer term goal was to play for Ireland and get capped in November. And then you get picked, it makes you so much hungrier.
“I was really pissed off then when I wasn’t involved against Australia, and even in the first week (against South Africa), despite the fact I hadn’t played for Ireland.”
The visit of Georgia also afforded Ian Madigan an opportunity to showcase his talents in the out-half position and, as the weeks go by, the clamour for him to don the No. 10 shirt at provincial level may continue to grow.
Madigan’s recent performances have certainly provided food for thought, but, although he acknowledged that current fly-half Jimmy Gopperth wasn’t at his best against Treviso, forwards coach Leo Cullen has been pleased with the contribution of the New Zealand native.
“Jimmy had a bug during the week, so I think he was a little bit off colour. Mads [Madigan] obviously played against Georgia and played pretty well. We play Ospreys this weekend and two massive European games, but Jimmy has been pretty good for us.
“[He] managed us through a difficult period, where we’d lost a couple of games, into those two European games where we’ve got a couple of really good results.”
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