Leinster v The Dragons
The RDS, Tonight (6.15 Live RTé2)
IT has become the order of the day for captains to be elected primarily on the principle of "leading by example". "Do as I do, not as I say" could be the motto.
Leinster will need all their available leaders to force a change of mindset from offering soft shoulders in the tackle to a steel curtain across the width of their defence.
To this end, part-time captain Shane Jennings, second in command to Leo Cullen tonight, will shoulder more than his weight in responsibility after last week's 45-20 defeat at The Scarlets.
"We got beat-up last week. We got bullied. We didn't win the confrontations in the tackle and when we were carrying the ball. If we do that again, we're going to get beat-up again," warned Jennings.
"It is pretty embarrassing walking around on a Sunday after a game like that. Everybody felt that way. Monday -- it's grim. Tuesday -- it's grim. Wednesday -- it lifts a bit. You start to put that behind you.
"I think everybody understands that it can't happen again. It comes down to individual responsibility. Everyone knows we got bullied and we didn't win the contact area.
"We all know what we have to do. It is about stepping up and doing it, not talking about it," he said, matter of factly.
"It is pretty grim. But it's the truth and you've got to take it on the chin.
"The training had a bit more focus and edge to it which is the way it should be."
To rebound in style, Leinster will have to subdue Wales number eight Toby Faletau, the joint favourite with Jamie Heaslip to win the test jersey for the British & Irish Lions in Australia.
Faletau exploded on to the international stage at the 2011 World Cup in tandem with other Dragons, Dan Lydiate -- out with a chest bone injury -- and Sam Warburton.
"It is a real good test for us. Faletau is probably the best back row around. It is a massive job for us to make sure we don't give him space, we don't give him time on the ball," said Jennings.
The news that Dominic Ryan (10-12 weeks) has joined fellow back rowers Sean O'Brien and Rhys Ruddock in the rehabilitation ward stretches the back-row resources right to the limit.
Former Ireland U20 lock Ben Marshall will make his second appearance for Leinster as part of his ongoing transition to the blindside in union with Jennings and Leo Auva'a, parachuted in from the AIL just two seasons back.
They will have to work in harmony or the gaps that appear close to the ruck and phase play will be exploited by Faletau and those who feed off his speed over the ground and wide-ranging skills.
Leinster: I Nacewa; A Conway, B Macken, N Reid, F Carr; I Madigan, J Cooney; J McGrath, S Cronin, J Hagan, L Cullen (capt), Q Roux, B Marshall, S Jennings, L Auva'a.
The Dragons: D Evans; W Harries, P Leach, A Tuilagi, T Prydie; S Jones, J Evans; N Williams, S Parry, N Buck, I Nimmo, A Jones, H Stoddart, J Groves (capt), T Faletau.