24 May, 14:08
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
Leinster coach Michael Cheika came out fighting yesterday when his side's character came into question at a press conference previewing Saturday's Celtic League clash with Cardiff.
The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) stadium, the venue for the annual Dublin Horse Show in August, plays host to an entirely different breed this weekend as Cheika's charges entertain the Blues.
The province's first outing at the RDS should see a near capacity crowd of 7,500 - with only the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Main Stand and South Stand being used. A further 6,000 spectators will be accommodated, seven days later, when Leinster attempt to hurdle Bath in their Heineken Cup opener.
Exciting times for the province but Cheika has a little more on his mind presently than putting bums on seats.
Despite starting with eight Ireland internationals last Sunday against Munster, Leinster were served up a Musgrave Park mauling by the men from the south.
After three successive home wins, the 33-9 defeat ended Cheika's honeymoon period as coach, and the manner of it - Leinster conceded four second half tries - had some observers calling into question the bottle of the current Leinster squad.
Cheika was having none of it at yesterday's press conference when the issue of his team's "character" came up.
"Everyone keeps telling me this, and it seems that it's the impression that everyone wants to have of us. Well, if they want to have that impression - let them have it," admitted the Australian.
"I know my team and I believe in my players. I've told them that if everyone wants to believe that about them - just let them. I don't really care.
"We'll do what we have to do and that's it. I'm not going to buy into this discussion.
"I said to the players after the game on Sunday everyone's going to start saying that stuff again so just let them. There's nothing I can say that's going to change anyone's mind so we've just got to go out there and do it."
Cheika has named a preliminary 29-man squad for the game with the Blues, who sit two points below Leinster in sixth. Ireland lock Malcolm O'Kelly, keyed up for his first start of the season after a groin injury prematurely ended his 2005 Lions tour, is a notable inclusion.
Cheika confirmed: "Malcolm trained yesterday (Tuesday) and came through a very physical session and he knows himself that he's fit and ready to return."
The presence alone of Ireland's record caps holder O'Kelly at training is ideal for Cheika. Timely too is Saturday's chance to iron the mistakes of Musgrave Park at the province's new home, at which Cheika will put his squad through their paces tonight under the floodlights.
Cheika added: "We just made too many mistakes against Munster. We gave away twenty points unnecessarily, and you just can't do that against a quality outfit like Munster because they'll punish you, and they did.
"Our breakdown play is an area we'll have to get a handle on and be far more effective in. Our handling too - we let the ball hit the ground far too many times, and these are the small things that make the difference."