Leinster are where they want to be as they welcome French side Montpellier to the RDS for their final pool game in the group stages of the Heineken Cup on Saturday afternoon, kick off 1.30pm.
Having safely qualified from their pool after a hard fought win against Glasgow last weekend, Joe Schmidt’s side will now be fully focused on getting the win that will give them that oh so precious home quarter final, most likely to be at the Aviva Stadium.
Schmidt has made a number of changes for Saturday’s game. Eoin O’Malley comes into the centre to partner Gordon D’Arcy with Fergus McFadden, who will share kicking duties with Jonny Sexton, moving to the wing.
Speaking ahead of the game Schmidt knows that it will be yet another tough game if Leinster are to get the victory required. “Having a home draw is so often pivotal to team’s chances,” admitted Schmidt..
“But there can also be a danger of people feeling that if you get a home quarter-final it is a fait accompli. We limped over the line against Leicester Tigers last year so we will continue to look at one game at a time.
“At the start of the season we said that we were just another contender for the title. We enjoyed being champions in the summer and it is great we will be among the eight left to try to win the Heineken Cup.”
Despite been 10 points adrift of Leinster, Montpellier still have a outside chance of making the Amlin Challenge Cup and won’t lie down and Leinster just roll over them.
They could and should have beaten Leinster when the sides met in November, when only a last gasp Jonny Sexton penalty salvaged a 16-6 draw for the Heineken Cup champions.
Looking straight at the game, you would have to fancy Leinster to get the win on Saturday. The one aspect of the game Schmidt and his coaching staff will want to see, is their side put in a complete 80 minute performance, something that has been missing in the last few games.
That aside it is hard to pick holes in Leinster and with a full house in the RDS behind them, they are picked as the selection to win. Leinster by 15.
Leinster : R Kearney; F McFadden, E O’Malley, G D’Arcy, I Nacewa; J Sexton, I Boss; C Healy, R Strauss, J Hagan; L Cullen (capt), D Browne; R Ruddock, S O’Brien, J Heaslip . Replacements : S Cronin, H Van Der Merwe, M Ross, D Toner, S Jennings, E Reddan, I Madigan, F Carr.
Montpellier: L Amorosino; T Nagusa, Y Audrin, P Bosch, M Bustos Moyano; F Trinh-Duc, J Tomas; N Leleimalefaga, A Creevy, G Jgenti; D Hancke, M Demarco; F Ouedraogo,