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Time for Blues youngsters to show mettle

THERE is more than the rumour of a crisis at Leinster given how scrum-half Isaac Boss (elbow ligament, 6-8 weeks), flanker Dominic Ryan, pictured, (ankle ligament, 10-12 weeks) and hooker Aaron Dundon (foot sprain, 8-10 weeks) have been added to the injury list.

They join long-term casualties Sean O'Brien, Rhys Ruddock, Luke Fitzgerald, Dave Kearney and Eoin O'Malley on the outside looking in and leave Leinster decidedly light on reinforcements.

It is time the youngsters stepped up to the plate and delivered physically on the deep feelings they have for the jersey. This will be more about mindset than about skill and talent.

This means the Heineken Cup champions will be down to the bare bones of their squad in one or three areas, namely hooker, back row and centre.

Usually, the Dragons would be seen, rightly or wrongly, as a guaranteed four points at The RDS. That is not now the case.

Leinster have not suffered three successive defeats in the League since the 'Lady-boy' days of 2008. This is what is staring them in the face after the fall to the Ospreys on the final day of last season and the Scarlets on the first day of this one.



defeat

Every time the Dragons have gone top of the League from a first day win in 2005, 2007 and 2008, they have followed up by going down to defeat on the second day out.

They have never beaten Leinster in Dublin, lost their last four to Leinster home and away and have won just one of their last 12 against all the Irish provinces.

In addition, the Dragons have problems of their own, making the cross-channel journey to Dublin with an injury list stretching to 11, including Wales flanker Dan Lydiate.

Leinster will still have to cope with Lydiate's international sidekick Toby Faletau, a terror on the ball from number eight. If they hold him, it will be the platform for much needed points.

Leinster v The Dragons, The RDS TOMORROW 6.15 (RTE2)

Verdict: Leinster


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