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Browne unravels French mentality as Leinster seek Montpellier win

THE French are a different breed, you know. Just ask former Brive second row Damien Browne, now at Leinster. Scrum-half Eoin Reddan did.

You think you understand it and then you ask Damien: what’s it really like? He says, apart from him, there were seven forwards crying in the dressing-room for a home game.

“They move them into the second dressing-room and they beat the crap out of each other, literally. Then, they go to an away game and there is none of that, absolutely none of it,” said Reddan.

This is the essence of the pride French clubs take in building an impregnable fortress at home. It is a tradition handed down from generation to generation.

“It is one of the oldest leagues in |the world.

“Maybe, in 100 years time, we will all be like that in the PRO12 League. This is the way their tradition is – a proud bunch at home.”

The champions will have to deliver basic tenants of all-out aggression, speed of thought and deed and the capacity to silence what is certain |to be a lively home support at the Montpellier soccer stadium.

Leinster have the template to beat the tournament newcomers through last season’s experience against Racing Metro, a club similar in playing style, physical make-up and |tactical stance.

“We’re playing them at the start of the competition,” stressed Reddan. “They had no game last week – (they will be) fresh. The Heineken Cup is new to them, is exciting to them. |And they are going to come with everything.

“We will look to move them around. The complication with that, when you are away from home, is getting the right balance. But, you have to be sensible in how you manage that.”

Leinster could have an edge in Joe Schmidt. The former Clermont-Auvergne backs coach has a deep knowledge of Montpellier and how

they like to manipulate the game. Then again, Montpellier are not short-handed in that area either.

“They have a very good coach, Fabien Galthie, and (had) a very good season last year.”

There is an argument that Montpellier will start fast and Leinster will have to finish strongly to make the right kind of statement about the defence of their European Cup.

KEVIN McLAUGHLIN on Montpellier’s giant Georgian danger man: Who is he? Mamuka Gorgodze.

How good is he? “He is a very destructive player,” he said. “He’s huge. He’s taller than me, but he’s 120 kilos (19 stone). He is important in the line-out and he’s one of their main restart takers.”

How do you stop him? “We are keen to close down the space and chop him down early. You have to play him on the ground.”

*Eoin Reddan and Kevin McLaughlin were representing Leinster Rugby at the announcement of a three-year deal which sees leading Tax, Audit and Business Advisory firm BDO become their Official Business Partner.


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