Click here for photos from Leinster’s training session at Donnybrook and mid-week press conference ahead of Saturday’s Heineken Cup Pool Five clash with Glasgow Warriors.
Pictured above: Leinster and Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll at Tuesday’s training session at Donnybrook. Owing to a dislocated shoulder, O’Driscoll, who turns 27 on January 21, has not featured in a Heineken Cup match since last April’s disappointing 29-13 quarter-final defeat at the hands of Leicester Tigers.
Gordon D’Arcy steadies himself to pass at training at Donnybrook. D’Arcy is one of Leinster’s form players currently, having scored four tries in his last five outings in blue. The Wexford man also scored a try in Leinster’s 33-20 Pool Five defeat of Glasgow at Hughenden in October.
Brian O’Meara takes a breather. The 29-year-old scrum half, as player-coach of Lansdowne, made his comeback from a leg injury in last Saturday’s AIB League Division One defeat by Clontarf at Lansdowne Road. O’Meara has made two appearances as a replacement for Leinster in this season’s Heineken Cup.
Felipe Contepomi, who was this week named as Leinster’s Player of the Month for December, and Ireland winger Denis Hickie at Donnybrook. Puma star Contepomi is the 2005/06 Heineken Cup’s top scorer to date with 78 points. His four-match record includes 4 tries, 11 conversions, 1 drop goal and 11 penalties.
Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie stretch at Donnybrook. Hickie, who turns 30 next month, looks set to earn his first cap of the current Heineken Cup campaign against Glasgow after showing no ill-affects of his dislocated fibula injury against Munster and Llanelli in recent weeks. Hickie boasts an enviable try-scoring in recent Heineken Cups – 2004/05 saw the Dubliner nab three tries in seven appearances, while the previous season, Hickie scored five tries in eight games in Europe.
Leinster hooker Brian Blaney takes a drink at Wednesday’s press conference in Dublin. The 23-year-old Blaney made his Heineken Cup debut against Bourgoin in December 2004 and started both of last month’s Pool Five encounters against the same French side.
Blaney said: “We won’t be taking Glasgow lightly – they are a class side. They won’t be coming over here to just turn up and fold. We’ll be very focused on ourselves though and the task at hand.
“If we can put in a good performance, hopefully the result with follow and perhaps a bonus point, if we get into that territory.”
Denis Hickie admitted to “feeling fine” at the press conference – the Irish international has yet to start a game since dislocating his right fibula in October, but has come on as a replacement in Leinster’s last two Celtic League games against Munster and Llanelli. Hickie said: “I’d like to be getting a bit more time on the pitch, and obviously, I’m hoping to get a bit more game-time this weekend.
“But when you come back after a lengthy lay-off, you can’t come back and start games, because you wouldn’t last a full game. It’s been very well managed. I was always hoping to play ten minutes one week, and then twenty the next, so as far as getting back into the swing of things, I’ve been doing fine.
“I haven’t done anything spectacular so far, but I do need to get a few games under my belt,” he added with the Six Nations looming.
**All photos by Lorraine O’Sullivan and Dan Sheridan of Inpho Photography**