Wednesday 22 February 2017

World Cup winner Will Greenwood explains why Leinster will topple Toulon on Sunday

Published 17/04/2015 | 15:10

Leinster players, from left, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Rhys Ruddock during a maul in last year's encounter
Leinster players, from left, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Rhys Ruddock during a maul in last year's encounter

Leinster and 9/2 outsiders to end Toulon's quest for a third successive European crown and the bookies are predicting an 11-point defeat for Matt O'Connor's men.

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It would be very foolish to rule out the province given their European pedigree and their record of upsetting the odds on French soil.

Writing in the Telegraph today, former England international Will Greenwood predicted a win for the underdogs and outlined why he was so confident with his prediction.

Greenwood is expecting dominance from Leinster at scrum-time, as they enjoyed in their quarter-final defeat at the hands of Toulon last year, and the kind of confidence that Wasps lacked in their quarter-final defeat.

"Stick on your helmet for a day, throw your bodies in their way and bring them down and you have a chance. I think Leinster can do it. I really do," he wrote.

"Admittedly they are struggling a little in pro 12, nearly went out in group stage to Quins and Wasps, and were on the edge against Bath at home. So a part of me thinks I have lost the plot, but Leinster have the cohesion - perhaps not of a Saracens - but of a team who know and trust each other.

"They have their big name players scattered around. Healy, Cronin, Toner, Heaslip, O'Brien, Madigan, Kearney, Reddan or Boss - they all have winner's medals. Some multiple winner's medals.

"Most of this Leinster XV won in Bordeaux in 2012 against a Clermont side most thought were unbeatable. They will not fold. They will make those tackles and then they will play.

"Leinster are still near the top of the table when it comes to spotting opportunities in defensive patterns. They love to hit the ball up the middle from a lineout then they have a series of plays off the rucks that can attack either side of the ruck or straight through it.

"They will look to send Cronin straight through the middle at least once from a midfield ruck. You would not think to send your worst enemy there but Toulon can get lazy and can ball watch. And Toulon’s defensive system is vulnerable to pace.

"Elliot Daly and Joe Simpson of Wasps showed how it is possible even if they were not able to overturn the team’s earlier mental blips. By the time, Wasps realised it was not too daunting, it was too late. Leinster will not have the same negative pre match thoughts.

2They will go to Marseille knowing the plan, believing in the plan and having people who have delivered the plan under the most intense scrutiny. Toulon have stolen Leinster's crown as the dominant force in Europe. Leinster want it back and they can upset the odds and win in Marseille."

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