The culmination of the 2009/10 season, the inaugural Magners League grand final, takes place in Dublin on Saturday evening between two of the league’s most experienced teams, Leinster and the Ospreys.
Appropriately it is the teams who finished first and second in the table at the end of the regular 18 round season that will be the first to contest the title in its new format, Leinster overcoming Munster and the Ospreys defeating Glasgow Warriors in the semi-finals to claim their places in the grand final.
And what a thrilling encounter is in store. On their road to this deciding game, the Ospreys have amassed 404 points, thanks to the boot of Dan Biggar, currently the league’s second top points scorer with 198, and the try scoring prowess of Irish and Welsh Players’ Player of the Year Tommy Bowe, whose seven tries to date have taken him clear at the top of the Magners League all-time list.
Leinster, who have won their last six encounters with the Ospreys, boast a team packed with star players from 1 to 22. Jonathan Sexton has proved reliable with the boot this season, his 75.93% success rate placing him third on the sureshot league, while Rob Kearney will be keen to add to his season’s tally of five tries.
Looking forward to the game, Leinster’s in-form number 8 Jamie Heaslip said: “We have a huge test coming up next weekend against the Ospreys and it will be another massive battle up front.
“They have an array of talent out wide so we will have to up our levels again next week.
“There’s no sense of our season being complete even though we were pleased to beat Munster in the
He added: “The way the Leinster squad has been managed this year has kept guys fresh for every game and that has affected me positively, touch wood.
“It’s also down to Michael Cheika’s ability to rotate the squad, the fitness coaches for keeping us fit and healthy, and everyone on the squad pushing each other because of the competition that’s there.”
Whoever wins, history will be made at the RDS on Saturday as the victors will become the first team to hold the title for a third time.
Leinster were crowned league champions in 2001 and 2008, while the Ospreys took the title in 2005 and 2007.
MAGNERS LEAGUE – GRAND FINAL:
Saturday, May 29 –
LEINSTER v Ospreys, the RDS, 6.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/S4C)