Richardt Strauss named on Leinster bench after miracle recovery from heart op
Published 16/01/2014 | 12:00
Richardt Strauss has made a sensational return from heart surgery to make the bench for Leinster against The Ospreys in the Heineken Cup tomorrow night.
The hooker has made much better than expected progress from an operation in October to line-up for an impact involvement.
Martin Moore will start ahead of Mike Ross at tight-head in one of four changes Matt O’Connor has made to his starting fifteen.
The 22 year-old tight-head has impressed this season with his scrummaging and has earned the right to have first shot at the Welsh front row.
The four alterations all come in the pack where veteran flanker Shane Jennings has won his contest with Jordi Murphy on the openside.
In-form Rhys Ruddock returns from a calf strain for Kevin McLaughlin on the blindside, while Cian Healy edges out Jack McGrath at loose-head.
Club captain Leo Cullen is convinced “it is not the end of the world” were Leinster to play away in the Heineken Cup quarter-final.
“It’s all about winning for us, really,” said Cullen.
“This time of the year, there are so many others factors like the pitch, what are the conditions like and all week the mindset is just about winning the game.
“It was the same against Castres. We had a sniff of a bonus point there at the end, but we just never got the ball back after we scored that third try in decent field position.
“This week we just need to focus, go out and try to get the win. That’s enough to get us into the quarters and that’s where we want to be.
“We have won three away games in Europe already so even if we have to go away somewhere it’s not the end of the world.”
LEINSTER staring XV: R Kearney; D Kearney, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Gopperth, E Reddan; C Healy, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, S Jennings, J Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen, Jordi Murphy, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Zane Kirchner