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Saturday 25 February 2017

Leinster’s Blue Army march on Toulouse ... whatever the weather

Trevor Brennan with the Herald's Leinster ambassador Aoife Anderson
Trevor Brennan with the Herald's Leinster ambassador Aoife Anderson

ADVANCE parties of Leinster fans are adapting to the baking heat in this central French city ahead of Saturday’s epic Heineken Cup semi-final.

The Blue Army’s travelling support can be seen enjoying the 30 degree heatwave everywhere in the city - ahead of predicted downpours this weekend.

But come rain or shine, spirits were high.

Ronan Cooper (25) from Clondalkin said: “The weather has been amazing since we arrived, we’re all a bit sunburnt but I think it really would go against the lads if they had to play in 30 degrees.

“They aren’t used to that sort of thing so if wet weather means we have a better chance of winning the game then bring it on.

“We’re well used to it anyway and we brought hoodies with us just in case.”

And the die-hard fans were determined not to let the lack of public transport on Saturday’s French public holiday ruin their plans.

“It’s a bit ridiculous for fans coming in from the airport ahead of the game,” said Ken McMahon (31).

BUSES

“I don’t know how they’ll get out here but we heard that there might be some private buses running to bring fans in for the match.

“It’s all a bit confusing at the moment but hopefully authorities in Toulouse will step up and organise something concrete,” he added.

Leinster and Toulouse icon Trevor Brennan assures fans the bars here won’t run out of booze ... like before!

And he’s called on Blues fans to take the plunge over the next two days and snap up last minute trips to the match.

The Kildare man and Herald columnist is eager to see the blues out in full force.

“French people are fanatical about their rugby, the final in Paris will be fantastic but Toulouse is the bedrock of rugby in the country.”

His De Danu pub is the unofficial HQ for Leinster fans visiting the picturesque city, and Trevor has ordered in vast amounts of booze in preparation for celebrations.

“There is a lot of extra beer ordered because we’ve had a few bad experiences over the years.

“We ran out of beer one weekend and when Leinster win, you can be sure a lot of fans miss their flights back home so we’re well prepared this time. Win, lose or draw, whatever happens it will be fantastic.

“The volcanic ash has definitely had an effect on numbers coming over, which is a shame.

“Obviously Toulouse fans are delighted that a few more tickets are on the market.

“The tickets are very hard to come by over here,” Trevor added.

But despite being out-numbered by locals, Trevor said he has no doubt that Leinster fans will out shout their rivals.

“Anyone will tell you if Leinster do what they did a couple of years ago and get in Toulouse’s faces by getting a few early scores, there will be total silence from the home crowd and all of a sudden the few thousand Leinster supporters will start making a lot of noise. They’ve gotten a lot louder in the last few years.”

The 36-year-old believes the atmosphere will be incredible because of the burning desire in both camps to get through to the final on May 22.

“The atmosphere is as always going to be electric.

“The winner takes it all in 80 minutes and whatever team wins on Saturday has a very good chance of going on to win the thing.”

Allez les Bleus!

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