Lansdowne saw off their Dublin rivals St. Mary's College with deadly precision on the AIB League's opening day - it's little wonder they have two Army men in charge this season.
In the battle of two of Leinster's top clubs, with over 200 Leinster Branch trophies between them, it was the headquarters' side who emerged victorious - 34-18 - at Lansdowne Road.
After two largely unsuccessful AIB League seasons, Lansdowne have called in Irish Army personnel to invigorate their performances in the competition. Not that there are any indiscipline matters to be sorted out - the team has received no more yellow cards than any other Division One side in recent times - but the club feel that improved leadership qualities will rekindle their title aspirations.
To this end, the club has placed two Army men in command this season. Liam Toland, a captain in the cavalry corps stationed at Cathal Brugha Barracks in Rathmines, has been appointed head coach and back row David Lavin, a captain in the artillery corps stationed in Mullingar in County Westmeath, has been appointed captain of the first XV.
Toland needs little introduction to rugby fans. A native of Clonlara in East Clare, he won eleven Munster caps as a flanker before he arrived in the capital city. Appointed captain of Leinster during his debut season, he proceeded to play 36 times for his adopted province including 13 European Cup appearances over four seasons. Along the way - he was on the first ever Ireland Schools Triple Crown winning side in 1989/90 - he picked up six Ireland 'A' caps and was never that far removed from a full Ireland cap.
Lavin, a back row forward from Killiney in County Dublin, is a product of Blackrock College where he played with Brian O'Driscoll on the 1997 SCT side that lost to Clongowes in the semi-final. He had previous AIB League experience with Buccaneers and then Galwegians (three seasons) before he enlisted in the Lansdowne ranks. Like his army buddy Toland he has served overseas, six months in Liberia in 2002 while Toland was on a tour of duty in Kosovo. The two leaders see eye to eye on commitment levels and are planning some special army-style 'activities' for the Lansdowne senior squad over the Christmas break. You've been warned lads!
Toland, who acquits himself very well as an analyst on Setanta Sports' rugby coverage, is well used to leading from the front. In his day job, he can often be spotted as the officer in charge riding the lead bike in motor cycle escorts for the President of Ireland. From his playing days he remembered well the spectacular AIB League final he featured in against St. Mary's back in May 2000.
He said: "Between the two teams there were 15 international players on the field that day, and who's to say that there there weren't 15 more such players waiting in the wings on Saturday!" And who would contradict him!