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Leinster Prepare For Festive Derbies

Leinster Prepare For Festive Derbies

Leinster’s training session in UCD on Tuesday was cancelled as assembling the squad was deemed impossible in the conditions.

The province will attempt to find somewhere to train on Thursday or Friday of this week to start their preparations ahead of the Magners League derby match against Ulster at Ravenhill on Monday (kick-off 4pm).

Leinster look set to be without a number of players who are being rested as part of the IRFU Player Welfare Programme.

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With a five-day turnaround to contend with ahead of the visit of Connacht to the RDS on New Year’s Day, there will be opportunities for youth to stake a claim.

A question mark remains over the availability of Eoin O’Malley (rib) who missed the 24-8 victory over Clermont Auvergne last weekend and his progress will be monitored over the coming days.

Aside from that, the province did not suffer any fresh injury concerns from the Aviva Stadium encounter.

With three busloads of supporters from the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC) set to travel to Belfast, Leinster will be boosted by the backing of several hundred followers ahead of two crunch derbies.

Already close to 15,000 tickets have been sold for upcoming Connacht game at the RDS and tickets are still available to purchase here and from the usual outlets.

Speaking ahead of Monday’s clash in Belfast, Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt said that the players are focused on facing the challenge of an in-form and well-drilled Ulster side.

“The extra couple of days rest are much needed after the rigours of a six-day turnaround and two really physical games against Clermont, so the players feel somewhat refreshed and are looking forward to the Ulster game,” he said.

“We’ll need to have a mix of a bit of courage and greater accuracy to get a win and we know that.

“If I’m brutally honest, we know that we let ourselves down a bit in the last half hour last Saturday. We weren’t as accurate as we’d been in the first 50 or so minutes and our intensity dropped, allowing them back into the game while we missed out on a bonus point.

“In saying that, it was a massive positive to get the four points and lead Clermont five (points) to four over the two games.

“With the weather turning again this week, this has meant that our on-field preparations have been affected somewhat, but we’ll work hard irrespective.

“There will be changes because a number of international players are missing, so that will present an opportunity for others and we’ll have to be right on the money against Ulster because they are a very good side who are brimming with confidence just now.”