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Fun: Leinster fans take over Bordeaux for cup showdown

LEINSTER mania has finally touched down in Bordeaux. The Blue army have started arriving en masse with high hopes and high expectations.

The city was struck by 'Blue Magic' last night as the first of the Leinster fans arrived and wasted no time getting the party started.

A sea of blue and white washed over the Heineken Cup semi-final's host city as a buzz took hold.

And blasts of bagpipes were drowned out only by chants.

While the Leinster fans will be heavily outnumbered by the home team, they have adopted a bit of extra support. Even Munster men and English men are swapping colours to cheer on the boys.

Speaking to the Herald in one of Bordeaux's many Irish bars, Limerick native Ted Duggan will be in the stands in the Blue strip.



stronger

"They're an Irish team at the end of the day, I'd love them to win," he said.

Bristol-based pals Jason Bradshaw and Pete Smith added: "Leinster are by far the superior team. I've seen them twice, in both finals against English teams, Leicester and Northampton, and I've bought a ticket to see Leinster battle to victory. It'll be a very special match tomorrow."

At the arrivals hall in Bordeaux Airport, Stepaside native Ivy Ma was predicting a "completely 50/50" game.

"Clermont are a really good team, but if we play well, like we always do, there's every chance we'll beat them," she said.

And they're not worried about the 24,000 Clermont fans.

"It's a little intimidating, but we're just going to cheer as loud as we can -- we have to be confident," added David Henry.

"We're spending the weekend reuniting with Bordeaux, we were here for the World Cup, it's great to be back."

Blackrock native Ciaran Ryan is 100pc positive the grand finale in London next month will feature two Irish teams.

"The final in Twickenham will be Leinster versus Ulster, I'm sure of it. The fact that we're only taking up a small portion of the stands won't worry us, last year we were outnumbered too and we got a bonus point. Clermont's support, when they travel, is ferocious. But we're not panicking about it, we'll do better on the field."

"I think Leinster are a better team than they were 18 months ago, Joe Schmidt has a lot to do with that," said Booterstown local Brendan Kavanagh, who brought his wife and sons along for the epic occasion.

For some of the loyal troops, this weekend will be quite a family affair. Malahide man Dominic Natin, who jetted in with wife Emelde and sons Geoff (16) and Jack (14), said it's very simple.



hopeful

"We have Johnny Sexton and Brian O'Driscoll, that's all there is to say -- without doubt we're going to make it into the final two, we're the best team in Europe.

"Clermont have lots of money, they're backed by Michelin and they're made of rubber," dad-of-two Dominic joked.

"They may be stronger, but we're much louder."

Meanwhile, the Clermont contingent are also feeling hopeful.

Christophe Chable insisted that he's already booked his flights for Twickenham.

But he's happy to enjoy the banter with the Irish, for the music and craic.

"Rugby is a fantastic sport and there's never any problem between supporters on different sides. The Irish are great fun to drink with."

They'll become enemies tomorrow, but the opposing communities of Clermont and Leinster partied united into the early hours of this morning.

labutler@herald.ie


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