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Leinster's 'heads up' rugby to deliver win

WHILE Clermont coach Vern Cotter is bidding to build a legacy, Leinster's Joe Schmidt is on the brink of leaving one, in just his second season in charge of the province.

Leinster stand on the precipice of becoming just the second club to patch back-to-back Heineken Cup titles together, their third in four seasons, and the first to complete the European-PRO12 League double.

Four wins from four play-off matches are required for a club which has lost just once in 24.

It all looks so achievable on paper. On the pitch, this can quickly unravel, especially in the south of France.

How can so many of the same players that look so ordinary for Ireland look so extraordinary for Leinster?

The answer is simple. The Leinster players are given the licence to react to what is happening in front of them by playing what is called 'heads up' rugby. Schmidt trusts the players to back themselves.

They have had all last and this season to tune into Schmidt's technical and tactical strategies. It is no accident that they seem to be getting better. This is the advantage of day-to-day contact.

Schmidt is renowned for having a pre-game plan -- specific to every opponent -- the players believe in and that aim to attack and expose the weakest link.

Do not be surprised to see Leinster concentrate on France centre Wesley Fofana. He is as bad in defence as he is good in attack.

Clermont are in uncharted waters in Europe. But they are no more or less inclined to sink rather than swim because of it.

The big spending French club boast players that have played in the World Cup final and world-class imports that have been in hotter company than this.

Verdict: Leinster


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