Here's the latest report from our secret agent who has been keeping tabs on upcoming opposition for both Leinster & Ireland throughout the season...
TARGET - Castres Olympique
WHO, WHEN, WHERE - They lost 13-49 to Stade Francais in the Top 14 on an emotional night in Paris last Friday. The defeat leaves them 13th in the league, 3 points away from safety with 10 rounds to go.
OFFENCE - Only had the ball for about 5 minutes. OK maybe that's an exaggeration but it seemed like it. When they got it, they kicked it, even after regular starting 10 Remi Tales took to the field in the second half.
DEFENCE - Woeful in first half but at start of second after they narrowed the margin to ten points their tackling seemed to rally up a bit before a determined Parrisse crashed over in the corner - from then on the floodgates opened.
SCRUMS - Positively munched all day including a shove from their own 22 all the way to their try line. It was bad enough when they had 8 forwards - it became comical when they had but 6.
LINEOUTS - More productive set piece than the scrum for Castres, but that's not saying much.
BREAKDOWN - Fa'asalele was keen but there were limited opportunities to steal because of Stade's offload game.
DISCIPLINE - The yellow for skipper Ortega, when he tripped up Plisson who was following his own kick, said it all. Poor discipline for Castres caused by frustration on being outplayed in virtually every area.
Grosso - Opportunist try after poorly-handled garryowen. The man they call the "White Lomu" barely had a sniff of any action the rest of the time.
Dupont - He's 18, Looks about 12, but on his few chances to show what he can do looked lively. Clearly they'd rather have Kockott but this kid plays like he wants to prove himself and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Fa'asalele - The blindside flanker was the only Castres forward who seemed to care. Busy at the breakdown when he had the chance.
VERDICT - Assuming Castres play the same way in the Irish capital as they did in the French one, and given their relegation battle back home there's no reason they should really be bothered, Leinster's task is simple. Keep the set-pieces tidy, be willing to offload and the tries will come.
Given we have tended to prefer recycling after contact this season, that aspect would worry me, but hopefully our need for 5-pointers will lead to a change of focus.
NEXT WEEK - We'll look at how Wasps got on against Harlequins ahead of Leinster's visit to Coventry.