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Sacre bleu ... army of Leinster fans in Castres for crunch tie

ALLEZ Les Bleus! The Leinster team are preparing to take on the might of French side Castres in a crucial Heineken Cup meeting this weekend.

And Matt O'Connor's (right) lions can rest easy knowing they have the 'Blue Army' behind them.

The Official Leinster Supporters Club have told the Herald they estimate that at least 500 loyal fans will travel to the south of France to cheer on the boys in blue as they take on Castres in the European showpiece.

Described by the players as "the best fans in the world", they have already begun their voyage.

The supporters club arranged a bus to pick up supporters from Carcassonne Airport as they touched down yesterday afternoon.

Another batch of fans will arrive in Toulouse tomorrow.

OLSC member Jarrod Bromley said that the headquarters for the blue army will be in a pub called The Quay.

There, fans will talk tactics ahead of the kick-off on Sunday afternoon.

The majority of supporters are expected to return on Sunday evening, and Mr Bromley revealed that they "managed to persuade" airline Ryanair to change the flight time, which originally meant a departure in line with kick off.

"There are people going from London and Brussels," he added.

"We last visited Castres in 2008, and we used The Quay pub then as well.

"It's somewhere to go before and after, they'll have some specials."


However, they are not expecting Rob Kearney or Luke Fitzgerald to be stopping by for a pint.

The players are on a tight schedule, as they will be back on the field to take on Ospreys next Friday.

The supporters club has also launched an away guide for their members who are heading to France this weekend ahead of their invasion of the small industrial city.