Eoin Reddan reckons it will be “an intense experience” when he lines out for London Wasps against some of his Ireland team-mates this coming weekend.
Saturday sees Wasps clash with the Magners League leaders in what is an eagerly anticipated European quarter-final (Adams Park, kick-off 5.45pm).
Scrum half Reddan, who started all six of Wasps’ Heineken Cup pool games this season, is well placed to pass judgement on the Anglo-Irish encounter. The Limerick man previously played for both Connacht and Munster and was a member of Ireland’s squad for the 2007 Six Nations.
Reddan will hope to use his inside knowledge of some of Leinster’s key players, having been part of many provincial battles in his homeland.
“When you are in Munster the rivalries are great, there is definitely a rivalry there with Leinster – particularly in the current era when everyone is gelling so well at international level,” the 26-year-old told ercrugby.com.
“You get to play against your mates and those are some of the most competitive games – they are the ones you want to win. It will be nice to play against a few of the lads and it will be intense.”
Voted the Players’ Player of the Year at Wasps last season, Reddan was on the bench for Munster when Wasps wrecked their European dreams in that famous Heineken Cup semi-final in 2004 at Lansdowne Road.
Now he is right behind the Londoners’ bid for success in 2007, but believes that Leinster’s ability to win away from home in Europe – they have been successful in Glasgow, Bath, Toulouse and Agen in the past two seasons – makes them a very dangerous side to contend with.
“We were watching Leinster’s quarter-final win away in Toulouse last season and with 20 minutes to go when they were leading 26-21, they turned the ball over in their own 22, ran it and scored a try even though they were five points up,” Reddan said.
“Home advantage can make a difference against a lot of teams, but I think home against Leinster is not so much the case. They can play anywhere as they showed by beating Toulouse in France last year.”