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Different half-backs, a star back row and changed front row - Leinster are far stronger for La Rochelle rematch

Leinster are better armed for battle with Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle this time

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen with Stuart Lancaster during a Leinster squad training session at Energia Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen with Stuart Lancaster during a Leinster squad training session at Energia Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen with Stuart Lancaster during a Leinster squad training session at Energia Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

You’d be mad not to put the threat from La Rochelle in the red alert category in Marseille on Saturday. The damage they did to Leinster up front a year ago was illustrative of what it takes to be a contender in the Top 14: relentless biff delivered by a queue of bullies who do this kind of thing for a living.

Equally it makes no sense that the Leinster experience of last May is set on automatic replay. Park for a moment the quality of their current form, and look at the men who had no part to play in the semi-final defeat in Stade Marcel Deflandre. If you make seven changes to your match day 23 it’s reasonable to expect something different. Which is exactly the state of mind of Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster.


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