Tuesday 19 March 2019

Brian O'Driscoll outlines what needs to happen for Racing 92 to upset Leinster in the Champions Cup final

Dan Carter during the Racing 92 Rugby Captain's Run at San Mames Stadium, in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Dan Carter during the Racing 92 Rugby Captain's Run at San Mames Stadium, in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Leinster are 2/9 favourites to be crowned European champions for a fourth time in their history in Bilbao tomorrow but Racing 92 are far from also-rans.

While Brian O'Driscoll feels the Parisians while have to produce a display that is close to their best to upset the odds, they do have weapons that will concern Leo Cullen's men and are known for their fast starts.

Bolstered by the arrival of Donnacha Ryan in the pack last summer from Munster and with Dan Carter waiting to be unleashed from the bench, this game is far from a foregone conclusion.

Asked what needed to happen for Ciel et Blanc to prevail, O'Driscoll told Off The Ball on Newstalk: "I think Ronan O'Gara's legacy is clearly evident in that they are playing very aggressive, they are marking the ball instead of the man, they are not thinking about drifting a whole lot, their ability to stop momentum on the gainline through Le Roux, Nyanga and Lauret, these guys are going to be hugely important, they are good at identifying when to steal the ball, There defence, first of all, has to be excellent.

"I also think their star players the Nakarawas and Vakatawas and the Teddy Thomas' of the world all need to have huge individual performances and be able to show their real x-factor European class because they will need scores. Leinster are going to score points. They are going to score 20-25 points you would imagine. Racing are going to need to score points themselves.

"I think they are going to need to start like they did against Munster. If they go behind, I think it will ber very difficult for Racing to claw it back.]

"When you've got guys like Dan Carter trying to win the one trophy that has failed him so far, you know he has one more big performance in him and he can drag a team along on his own.

"Racing need to have not the perfect game but not far off it and they need to starve Leinster of possession and clear-cut opportunities which I think it will be difficult to do.

"The favourites tag is absolutely warranted but they still have to go out and do it on the big stage and I anticipate that they'll probably go and do that."

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