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29 April 2013; Leinster's Ian Madigan arrives for squad training ahead of their side's Celtic League 2012/2013 Round 22 match against Ospreys on Friday May 3rd. Leinster Rugby Squad Training and Media Briefing, Rosemount, UCD, Belfield, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 April 2013; Leinster's Ian Madigan arrives for squad training ahead of their side's Celtic League 2012/2013 Round 22 match against Ospreys on Friday May 3rd. Leinster Rugby Squad Training and Media Briefing, Rosemount, UCD, Belfield, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

29 April 2013; Leinster's Ian Madigan arrives for squad training ahead of their side's Celtic League 2012/2013 Round 22 match against Ospreys on Friday May 3rd. Leinster Rugby Squad Training and Media Briefing, Rosemount, UCD, Belfield, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

WHAT a week it has been for Leinster and Irish rugby.

Joe Schmidt could have four more games left as Leinster coach at the end of what has been a dream three-year combination between the coach and his players.

In the remaining weeks, the New Zealander will work every hour available to add two trophies he hasn't won to those two Heineken Cups from 2001 and 2012.

Schmidt continues to be the tinker man, staying with Ian Madigan at inside centre in the absence of Gordon D'Arcy and moving the returning Sean O'Brien around to number eight where the Carlow man sees himself as a legitimate option for the Lions.

For the moment, there is still the small matter of winning the PRO12 League, a competition in which Leinster have filled the runners-up place in the last three years.

The painful defeats by the Ospreys, both at the RDS, in 2010 and 2012 were almost as gnawing as the 2011 fall to Munster at Thomond Park.

Indeed, the Ospreys are something of a bogey outfit for the Irish province. Schmidt's band of men have won just one in their last seven attempts.

These are powerful motivating tools with which to work with as it leaves a bothersome hole on the curriculum vitae of Schmidt and his squad.

The Ospreys coaching double-act of head coach Steve Tandy and backs coach Gruff Rees have signed four- and two-year deals respectively this week.

It is a shot in the arm to go with the honour of supplying five British and Irish Lions for Australia, just one less than Leinster and Leicester Tigers.

The mood in the Leinster camp this week was already positive before all the leading candidates for the Lions were included in the 37-man squad for Australia.

Moreover, the half-dozen contenders are all legitimate options for that first test at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on June 22. It all begins tonight.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster: R Kearney; A Conway, F McFadden, I Madigan, I Nacewa; J Sexton, I Boss; J McGrath, S Cronin, J Hagan, L Cullen (capt), Q Roux, R Ruddock, S Jennings, S O'Brien.

Ospreys: R Fussell; T Habberfield, A Beck, B John, R Jones; D Biggar, R Webb; D Jones, S Baldwin, A Jones, AW Jones (capt), J King, J Tipuric, S Lewis, J Bearman.


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