Leinster have to hit ground running – Eoin Reddan
Eoin Reddan highlighted a huge motivating factor for Leinster ahead of Friday's Pro12 opener against Scarlets – the Blues haven't won their opening competitive fixture in six seasons.
Of course it hasn't unduly hurt them with three Heineken Cup titles, an Amlin Challenge Cup and a Celtic League amassed since they defeated Edinburgh in the opening game of the 2007-08 season.
"Of course you want to start the campaign with a win. It would set the tone for the season ahead," said scrum-half Reddan.
It's a season of change at Leinster. After three outrageously successful seasons, Joe Schmidt has moved onto the Ireland job with Matt O'Connor replacing him. Reddan is generous in his praise for Schmidt, and he's also a fan of what O'Connor brings to the set-up.
"We're lucky in that we had quality and we have quality now. Matt knows what he wants, he's got incredible knowledge of the game. It's been very positive, very fresh," he said.
"He's a good communicator and is very good at teaching what he wants his team to do. Knowing what you want your team to do and being able to teach them are two very different things and we're lucky that Matt can get his knowledge across very well.
"We've maybe fallen down in the past by not having our skill levels up right away, which has let us down in our opening games. It's an individual responsibility to bring our own skill levels up to the game very quickly and then we can execute what Matt wants us to."
Reddan made a successful comeback from the leg break that derailed last season in Friday night's final pre-season friendly when he played the second half against Northampton Saints in Donnybrook.
It was a tough few months for the 33-year-old – "you never want to miss out on an Ireland tour" – as he rehabbed from the injury. But he's confident he's in fine fettle for the season ahead.
"The nature of the break meant that I was able to work on other things and come back in better shape than before I was injured," he said.
"It was tough having to miss the big games at the end of last season. It was a little easier that we won but it wasn't easy not being able to contribute."