Tuesday 12 December 2017

Peter Bills: Strength in depth heralds bright future for Schmidt's men

Peter Bills

In the heart of the cold, mountainous Auvergne region, where the French resistance fought so manfully against the Nazis in 1944, Leinster offered their own version of defiance and raw courage. Truly, this was a sight to behold.

Here again were young men willingly sacrificing their bodies, giving everything to the cause. Sixty-six years ago, many never survived in the fight for nearby Mont Mouchet. Admittedly, Leinster's brave men went away only with bruises from this skirmish, yet their commitment should not be underestimated. Against one of the toughest, most physical teams in French rugby, so many Leinster players came of age in this notorious cauldron.

The losing bonus point was critical to the ambitions of Joe Schmidt's side. It sets up perfectly next Saturday's contest at the Aviva Stadium and keeps Clermont honest in terms of their own ambitions.

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