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Leinster will need Aviva to come Alive, Alive O

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Rhys Ruddock

Rhys Ruddock

Rhys Ruddock

The fortress has already been plundered twice by foreign invaders from Europe in the last two years.

And by bitter rivals Munster in the Guinness PRO12 this season.

First came Clermont-Auvergne, the men from the Massif Central, in 2012 to tear a hole in Joe Schmidt's Leinster and reap revenge for their shellacking there in 2010.

Next, Northampton Saints turned humiliation at Franklins Gardens into the template for their Premiership success last season.

Now, Harlequins stand between Leinster and what they have to have to hold out any reasonable prospect of progress out of Pool Two and into their eleventh quarter-final in 14 seasons.

Has the Aviva Stadium become one more pressure point that works against Leinster?

Would Matt O'Connor's men find more comfort at The RDS?

"I'd probably prefer to be in the Aviva," said Rhys Ruddock.

"I just feel it's such a big occasion whenever you set foot on that field.

"The crowd is a bit bigger, I just feel it's a pretty special opportunity to play there."

It is not as if the Leinster flanker is a veteran of the national stadium. He has just won the trust of Joe Schmidt.

"I've only played there a handful of times, so personally I think it will lift us.

"If we get a good turnout and the atmosphere is right, I think it will lift us, definitely."

These boys in Blue certainly need a lift as they battle the demons that automatically come with a loss, but also the bad odour from standards not met.

It didn't start out that way when Leinster first applied for permission to the Irish Rugby Football Union to stage one juicy annual European Cup match there as part of the Christmas season.

Clermont were slain there in 2010 as the stadium rocked and rolled to post-match festive songs.

The atmosphere and the action made those there feel like it was a match made in heaven.

This was topped in 2011 when Leinster reserved their most dazzling attacking display for Bath in a seven-try bonanza.

Those days seem like a long time ago. It is time to rebuild the fortress.


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