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Leinster Prepare For ‘Battle Of The Capitals’

Leinster Prepare For ‘Battle Of The Capitals’

Leinster coach Michael Cheika says his players are energised at the prospect of playing the reigning English champions and two-time Heineken Cup winners in one of the most imposing arenas in world rugby.

All eyes will be on Twickenham on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.35pm) as Leinster, the 2007/08 winners of the Magners League, tackle the reigning Guinness Premiership champions, London Wasps, for the second time this season.

The first leg went the way of Leinster, with a comprehensive six-try 41-11 victory at the RDS, and their coach Michael Cheika said: “Now that this round 5 game is here, you can feel the energy. Bernard (Jackman) participated in training on Monday and we’re confident that he will be available for selection.

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CJ (Van Der Linde) didn’t train but we’ll wait and see how he goes.

“We have had a plan, since the week off before the Ulster game, on how we wanted to bring players back into the team and we feel that we’re pretty well on track for that.

“The players who are not in the starting fifteen still have a major role to play in terms of making an impact and finishing games off.

“The form of some players has put pressure on others, and I’m still hopeful that (Shane) Jennings will have an opportunity to play because we’re appealing that decision to ban him.

“We understand the strengths of all our players in the squad. Tailoring to our game-plan, we will then select the team.

“We’re going to try to use our different talents to impact changes and that’s something that we’re very mindful of.

“I’ve got a lot of belief in the team. I always have done. I’m not naive and I know that we have needed to play better (recently), but we’re aware that we’re playing against very different forces.

“We have gained a lot more self belief and you could see that in the body language at the end of our win over Cardiff last weekend.

“A lot of our guys have had some good moments at Twickenham at international level for Ireland, but this weekend it’s all about the final product that we produce on the day.” 

Meanwhile, ticket sales for the London Wasps v Leinster clash have now reached 30,000.

Moving the game to the home of English rugby, Wasps have opened the lower bowl with a capacity of 30,000 and have successfully tripled the capacity of their regular home groun Adams Park.

Saturday’s do-or-die encounter will mark the biggest home game crowd in Wasps’ history.

London Wasps CEO Tony Copsey said: “We are delighted that our desire to take this game to Twickenham has been realised with such great success.

“With so much on the line, on the pitch, the show of support will make this not only a fantastic match, but also a great rugby day out.

“Reaching sales of 30,000 shows the support behind the players but also highlights the work of our commercial marketing team who have worked extremely hard to take this game to such a standing. Our challenge moving forward will be to continue to unlock this potential.

“With a limited number of further tickets available we encourage people to buy now to ensure they are a part of this massive game.”

it is estimated that the number of Leinster supporters travelling from Ireland, the United Kingdom and Europe this weekend will eclipse the figure of 7,000 who travelled to Toulouse for the Heineken Cup quarter-final in 2006.

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