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Murphy says Blues are 'buzzing' as struggling Bath look to turn the tide

LEINSTER assistant coach Richie Murphy has heaped pressure on Bath ahead of their Heineken Cup duel at The Recreation Ground on Sunday.

There may be just two points separating these two at the head of Pool Three, but there is a world of difference in where they stand in the echelons of club rugby.

The former English club kingpins have tumbled closer to the foot of their table on the back of poor results to leave them contemplating the possibility of life outside the Premiership.

"I think they are under pressure, no doubt, after three defeats," reflected Murphy.

In contrast, Leinster are loving life at the top of the PRO12 League -- courtesy of recent victories away to Benetton Treviso and at home to Cardiff Blues -- and Pool Three, in defence of the crown they have won twice in the past three seasons.

"The last two weeks have been good for us. There is a great buzz around the camp. If you're winning games, I suppose, that happens automatically," said Murphy.

Now, Leinster must make the transition from the PRO12 to the Heineken, from the habits of rotation to Joe Schmidt's definitive opinion on the best players equipped to dissolve Bath's challenge.

"These two games usually shape the pool. We are in a position that whatever the conditions of the pitch and the conditions of the day we will be able to adapt accordingly.

"We are going over with the attitude that the pitch will be good, will be fast and we will be ready to play. Players learn from players as much as they do from coaches," added Murphy.

There is more than a grain of truth about this. It took the Australian winning mentality of coach Michael Cheika married with the return of then Leicester Tigers' Leo Cullen and Shane Jennings, the import of Rocky Elsom, the certainty of Brian O'Driscoll and the emergence of a generation of young warriors to transport Leinster onto the plain of champions.

It was a process that took 10 years. The environment is now right. The inbuilt belief is there to keep Leinster humming as one of the giants of European club rugby. Their reputation goes before them. In one way, this makes them formidable, like Toulouse, like Leicester Tigers. In another, it makes them a target for other clubs on a journey of growth and development.

Bath's backs and defence coach Brad Davies does not underestimate the champions. But, there is more than a whiff of an ambush about this one.

"It is not ideal that we change competition. When you lose a game in the Premiership, you want to play in the Premiership the week after. We are tenth in the table. We will be tenth for the next two weeks," said Davies.

"We are playing a Leinster side that are the champions from last season. They have been there or thereabouts over the last five years. They've probably got all their players refreshed.

"You would have to say we are going to be massive underdogs for this game even though it is at home. We have nothing to lose," he offered.

A wounded animal can be the most dangerous animal. Bath can leave behind the woes of the Premiership for the next two weeks. They can escape their everyday reality for a shot at re-igniting their season.


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