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Leinster must behave to beat Ospreys

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Leinster's Shane Jennings. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Shane Jennings. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

Leinster's Shane Jennings. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

IT WASN'T that long ago Richardt Strauss discovered a hole in his heart, Cian Healy was designated absent for eight to 10 weeks with a foot injury and Seán O'Brien dislocated his shoulder and was off to France.

Well, well, well, what do you know? Healy miraculously reappeared as the ultimate impact replacement for Leinster against Castres last Sunday, four weeks ahead of schedule.

Then, Irish rugby woke up yesterday to be given the tumultuous news that O'Brien had extended his contract by two years. Later, it was confirmed Strauss had made it back to the Leinster bench for tonight, once again ahead of all public forecasts.

Into the bargain, coach Matt O'Connor has showered confidence on his 22-year-old tight-head prop Martin Moore by starting him ahead of Mike Ross. Moore's rise has been something of a whirlwind, having also been included in Joe Schmidt's 44-man extended squad for national camp.

In fact, O'Connor has changed half his pack of forwards for the job – to beat the Ospreys and make it through to their 10th quarter-final in 13 years.

 

Cameo

Healy came through his cameo role in Castres with no serious after-effects to complete a Leinster front-row with Cronin and Moore that will have to stand up to the tried-and-trusted Richard Hibbard and Adam Jones.

Flanker Rhys Ruddock has recovered from a calf strain to return for Kevin McLaughlin, and Shane Jennings is rewarded for his fine showing last Sunday ahead of Jordi Murphy.

Leinster will have to be on their best behaviour, as Dan Biggar has not missed a shot at goal (20/20) to lead the points charts in the competition.

Wales openside Justin Tipuric also leads the way in turnovers, with 13. The Ospreys are a danger to Leinster with a pack of forwards that contains six Lions, led by captain Alun-Wyn Jones.

Leinster: R Kearney; D Kearney, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Gopperth, E Reddan; C Healy, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, S Jennings, J Heaslip (capt).

The Ospreys: S Davies; J Hassler, J Spratt, B John, A Natoga; D Biggar, R Webb; R Bevington, R Hibbard, A Jones, A-W Jones (capt), I Evans, T Ardron, J Tipuric, R Jones.

Leinster v The Ospreys, RDS, Tonight 8.0 (Live Sky Sports 1)

Verdict: Leinster


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