| 13.7°C Dublin

Sexton needs to be on song

Edinburgh v Leinster, Murrayfield, tonight 7.35.

Coach Joe Schmidt reintroduces eight Ireland players to Leinster in what is a wait-and-see conundrum away to Edinburgh at the national stadium.

Most importantly, out-half Jonathan Sexton will have to recover his shooting boots and play with the authority that has been his hallmark over the last 18 months.

Despite the achievement of working out their second Heineken Cup in May, there exists a long-held view that Leinster are one of those teams other teams like to play against.

This isn't because they have a soft underbelly or a yielding defence.

Right or wrong, the perception is that Leinster always look to play wide and fast, rather than choke the opposition. The truth lies somewhere in the balanced approach in between one and the other.

However, this perception is borne out by Edinburgh centre Nick de Luca's insight into Edinburgh's solid record against Leinster at home, talking about how, "Leinster are always great to play. They play some fantastic rugby. Hopefully, there will be tries and it will be a great spectacle." To this end, five of Scotland's World Cup contingent will start this evening.


Full-back Chris Paterson and De Luca will boost the backline, while an entire front row of Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Geoff Cross will test Leinster.

Coach Michael Bradley has also shown he is not afraid to take a chance on 20-year-old centre Matt Scott and 19-year-old out-half Harry Leonard to give Edinburgh a different and somewhat unknown quantity to the backline.

This is not the business of entertainment. It is the business of winning games and, by extension, trophies. It took Leinster a long time to find the right balance between entertaining and winning.

In contrast to Munster, Leinster like to play a high-tempo, wide-ranging style that can spark a brilliant attack or fall flat because it is at this time that the greatest chance of a turnover arises.

As Wales showed Ireland in the World Cup, turnovers, or mistakes, are the greatest sources of points for the opposition. In other words, while you can get blown away, you can also have a chance.

High risk does not always make for high reward. After all, you are most vulnerable in defence when you are on the attack. One fumble and the ball is not your own and the defensive line is out of kilter.

Verdict: Leinster

Edinburgh: C Paterson; S Webster, N de Luca, M Scott; T Visser; H Leonard, G Laidlaw (capt); A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, E Lozada, S Turnbull, D Denton, R Grant, S McInally.

Leinster: R Kearney; D Kearney, E O'Malley, F McFadden, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, I Boss; H van der Merwe, S Cronin, M Ross, L Cullen (capt), D Toner, K McLaughlin, S Jennings, L Auva'a.