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O’Driscoll Ready To Put Friendships Aside

O’Driscoll Ready To Put Friendships Aside

Brian O’Driscoll will put his friendships with some of the Munster players aside on Friday night as he tries to lead Leinster to the top of the Magners League table with a win over Declan Kidney’s side in Cork.

Speaking ahead of Friday’s league clash and Interprovincial derby at Musgrave Park, O’Driscoll said that the Leinster squad are determined to put in a strong performance against Munster.

“There’s always great rivalry whenever you play one of the Irish provinces, and Friday night will be no different against Munster.

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It’s not just bragging rights at stake, the team who wins can go top of the league. But at this stage of the season, irrespective of Friday night’s result, I don’t think that either side will think that they’re in the driving seat,” O’Driscoll admitted.

Upwards of 2,000 Leinster supporters are expected to make the trip to Musgrave Park for Friday’s provincial encounter and O’Driscoll readily admits that travelling support can make a difference in tight games.

“The support that we have received both at home and away this season has been fantastic and it has really grown over the last few years. As a player, it really stands to you.

“Hearing a vocal crowd drives you on and gives you a great boost and I’m sure the Leinster supporters will be in full voice again in Cork.”

Leinster’s 33-6 Heineken Cup reversal at Toulouse has been their only defeat in their last five matches and O’Driscoll and company are keen to keep up their recent good form, especially with a victory against some familiar faces.

“Consistency is the most important factor coming into a big game like this. We have improved our away form this year, and that’s not easy in a competition as intense as the Magners League because it tends to be more difficult to win away from home,” said the 28-year-old.

“There are friends in both camps, but you tend to put everything to one side when you come up against each other. Even if you’re team-mates with Ireland, it makes no odds when you play in an Interpro.

“Every player wants to go out and be on a winning side and you play as hard as you can if you’re playing against Munster as you would if you were playing against the All Blacks, for example. You want to win each and every game you go into.”

O’Driscoll recognises that Munster’s traditional strength has been in their pack, but with the emergence this season of New Zealand duo Rua Tipoki and Lifeimi Mafi as the province’s first choice centres, the Leinster skipper knows that he and his back-line colleagues are to sure to have their defensive capabilities tested in midfield and out wide.

“In the past, the feeling is that Munster would have had a very good pack, and they do, but they also have some very effective backs.

“We know that they have great strength at half-back and out wide, but they also have two very effective midfielders. So their strengths are not just in the pack, but right across the team.

But it’s 15 versus 15 and there’s no fear of Leinster getting ahead of ourselves. This is a massive game and we’re focused on each individual game. We will look to attack the game the same way we would any other,” he added.