It’s going to be a busy few weeks for all of those connected to Leinster Rugby. After a highly anticipated clash against rivals Munster in the Aviva Stadium in the Pro 12, all eyes will be on the Champions Cup.
Coach Leo Cullen has recently named his squad for the Champions Cup, with the usual big hitters in. They include captain Isa Nacewa and Irish duo Sean O’Brien and fly-half Jonny Sexton, among many other international players. There were no real surprises, it just adds to the excitement as the competition draws closer.
The Champions Cup will be about redemption after a poor showing last year. For a club with such a proud association with the premier Rugby Union competition, 2016 saw an early exit, with one win from the six pool games.
That came after a previous four years that saw two wins, a quarter-final exit and a semi-final exit, so clearly last year was a shock to the system. The group has been decided, with the Irish side up against French sides Castres Olympique and Montpellier and Northampton Saints from England. It is a tricky group, but no less than you would expect at such a competition.
The first game is against Castres Olympique, at home in Dublin and in all reality, it is a game that the team will have pinpointed to win. The French outfit are currently 9th in the top 14 in their country, with three defeats and wins apiece along with a draw.
So with something of a mixed domestic campaign, the Boys in Blue will be desperate to grab some points. Extra significance could be placed on the Castres game too, as it’s the only one of the first three that is at home. If you fancy the hosts to get maximum points, then register at Betway.com for all of the latest odds and news surrounding everything to do with the Champions Cup, and Pro 12.
We know the advantage a packed out RDS Arena or Aviva can have, and the difficulty of winning away. If Leinster are still in with a shout with the fellow favourites coming to Ireland towards the end of the pool, they will fancy their chances.
Either way, it’s why the player play and the fans love rugby, because the big games are coming back, and they’re coming quickly. Whether it’s domestic grudge games or testing yourself against teams from across Europe, the excitement is just building with Leinster Rugby.