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Magners Preview: Leinster v Cardiff Blues

Magners Preview: Leinster v Cardiff Blues

After losing a half-time lead in Glasgow last weekend, Leinster will be doubly determined to chalk up their first win of the Magners League season when they entertain the Cardiff Blues at the RDS tonight.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Saturday, September 11

LEINSTER (8th) v CARDIFF BLUES (4th), the RDS, 6.30pm (live RTE 2/S4C)

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Team News: Returning flanker Shane Jennings leads the Leinster team, which includes fellow Ireland internationals Brian O’Driscoll and Jonathan Sexton, for the visit of the Cardiff Blues.

Isaac Boss, who made a try-scoring debut in Glasgow last weekend, links up with Sexton at half-back, with Fergus McFadden partnering O’Driscoll at centre.

Mike Ross has recovered from a calf injury to take his place in the front row alongside Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe, while Jennings joins Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien in an all-international back row unit.

Cian Healy and Eoin Reddan, two more Ireland internationals, have also been included on the replacements bench for the first time this season.

Asked about the returning Ireland players, Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said: “I think they’ll bring some leadership. We lost our way a bit in the second half at Glasgow. I think they will bring us a little bit more control, a little bit more leadership and experience, (Shane) Jennings particularly.

“He’s a very vocal player, organises himself well and he organises the guys around him well so.

“I’m hoping Cian Healy coming on in the second half can bring us a really solid set piece game, at the same time ball carry and a good defensive game.

“Same with the organisation that Eoin Reddan can bring us off the bench. Again he’s a very vocal player, a good organiser.”

Meanwhile, new recruit Michael Paterson is set to start for the Cardiff Blues in Dublin.

The big Kiwi back rower made his debut for the Blues against Exeter in a pre-season friendly, but the match against the former Heineken Cup champions will mark his competitive bow.

There are three other changes to the starting pack from last weekend’s win over Edinburgh. Prop Tom Davies, lock Deiniol Jones and flanker Sam Warburton having been bumped up from the replacements bench.

The only change in the backs sees Dafydd Hewitt come in for Wales international Tom Shanklin at centre.

LEINSTER: Luke Fitzgerald; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll, Fergus McFadden, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Isaac Boss; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Nathan Hines, Ed O’Donoghue, Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings (capt), Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: John Fogarty, Cian Healy, Simon Shawe, Mariano Galarza, Dominic Ryan, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Eoin O’Malley.

CARDIFF BLUES: Chris Czekaj; Richard Mustoe, Casey Laulala, Dafydd Hewitt, Tom James; Dan Parks, Richie Rees; Tom Davies, Rhys Thomas, Scott Andrews, Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones, Michael Paterson, Sam Warburton, Xavier Rush (capt).

Replacements: Rhys Williams, John Yapp, Fa’ao Filise, James Down, Ben White, Lloyd Williams, Ceri Sweeney, Gavin Evans.

Referee: Andy Macpherson (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Simon McDonnell, Jonathan Peak (both Ireland)
Television Match Official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Leinster to win: 1/3; Draw: 22/1; Cardiff Blues to win: 9/4

Pre-Match Quotes: Isaac Boss (Leinster) – “We should have won the game last weekend and I think we all felt that we missed out on a great chance to take Glasgow over on their home patch.

“I don’t think that a lack of cohesion is an excuse for us because we had a few games together over the last few weeks. Even though we were without a few players, we had planned to win and it was a good time to strike.

“We’ve reflected on our analysis and will try to learn from our mistakes because there has been a steady improvement in recent weeks and we want to get that first win.

“I know from my time with Ulster how good Cardiff are. They will try to attack and use their big ball carriers and powerful midfield players to good effect.

“In Dan Parks they have an accomplished kicker who will punish any mistakes that we make. So it’s vital that we are disciplined.

“Personally I’m really excited about playing at the RDS and it will be a huge buzz because you know that you’re going to get another passionate crowd and a good surface to play on.

“As an opponent you always knew that you were coming into a good rugby environment at the RDS and it will be a nice change to have the crowd roaring you on for once there!

“It will be another big step up for us and we know that come Saturday we have to be ready.”

David Young (Cardiff Blues) – “What we’ve said as a group of players and management is, that this is the strongest squad we’ve ever had and we’ve got to use it.

“What we don’t want is to have a first team and a second team. You can’t play one team one week, and then pile everybody else in, the stats shows that show it doesn’t work.

“We know that Leinster lost to Glasgow last weekend, but a lot of teams visit Glasgow and lose, so it’s nothing to be ashamed off.

“I think any team that writes Leinster off are foolish, if you look at last weekend’s team they had very few of their internationals on the pitch.”

“We know what they bring. They are very physical up front with some strong ball carriers, they are confrontational and carry hard and direct and we know we have to muscle up to stop that.”

Top Scorers – 2010/11 Magners League: Leinster – Points: Fergus McFadden 6; Tries: Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss 1 each; Cardiff Blues – Points: Dan Parks 14; Tries: Bradley Davies, Tom James, Rhys Thomas, Casey Laulala 1 each


Friday, September 28, 2007 – Cardiff Blues 19 Leinster 30, Arms Park
Saturday, February 16, 2008 – Leinster 24 Cardiff Blues 17, the RDS
Saturday, September 6, 2008 – Cardiff Blues 16 Leinster 16, Arms Park
Saturday, January 10, 2009 – Leinster 21 Cardiff Blues 20, the RDS
Saturday, October 31, 2009 – Leinster 23 Cardiff Blues 6, the RDS
Sunday, March 7, 2010 – Cardiff Blues 20 Leinster 29, Cardiff City Stadium


– Leinster tripped up 22-19 in Glasgow last Friday and have not begun a season with successive losses since the 2003/04 campaign

– The Leinstermen have won their last 15 Magners league regular season matches at the RDS

– The Cardiff Blues have won their last nine games in all competitions since March

– The Blues have not lost away from home since a trip to Murrayfield to face Edinburgh on January 9

– Leinster are unbeaten in their last six encounters with the Blues. The Welsh region’s only previous victory in Dublin in the Magners League was a 22-18 success against Leinster at Donnybrook in March 2004