Friday, September 13, 2013

Leinster v Ospreys preview

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Sure, this match has an edge about it what with our opponents being Those Pesky Ospreys, Leinster’s nemesis for many years who also happen in our Heineken Cup pool this season.

But it doesn’t need all that to get me pumped.  Leinster Rugby is back at the RDS and I’ve got the same season ticket I’ve had for years.  Nuff said.

The bookies are favouring the home side by as much as 9 points - I reckon that’s a brave spread.   Even though the Ospreys’ hair-style trio of Jones/Hibbard/Jones is on the bench and they are without the likes of Alun-Wyn/Ryan Jones or Justin Tipuric, they never come to Dublin to do anything but play solid rugby for the full 80 minutes and I expect nothing less here.

Most welcome sight on the Leinster team sheet has to be Luke Fitzgerald after his early withdrawal in Llanelli made it seem that his luck was out.  His inclusion means the backline is identical to that which started that impressive opening day victory - despite the fact that Ian Madigan is available for selection, Jimmy Gopperth’s man-of the-match efforts on his competitive debut for his new side keeps him his place.

There is a spot of shuffling in the Leinster pack, however, and we will see if that makes us more comfortable with the new scrum laws.  Richardt Strauss will have a go at hooking while Martin Moore will feel a bit unlucky to be on the bench as Mike Ross gets the start.

In the second row Mike McCarthy starts alongside Toner as fellow international Kevin McLaughlin replaces Ruddock at blindside.  But after a scintillating display last week all eyes will be on Jordi Murphy who’s stock could rise even more with another impressive outing.

The visitors should beat the spread but once the Pro12 champions can match last week’s form they should go home to Swansea with only a losing bonus to show for it. Leinster by 4

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