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Leinster prop Andrew Porter freights weight of Atonio atonement

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Leinster prop Andrew Porter feels that his side has learned from their last meeting with La Rochelle and are ready to "box smart" in the final. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster prop Andrew Porter feels that his side has learned from their last meeting with La Rochelle and are ready to "box smart" in the final. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster prop Andrew Porter feels that his side has learned from their last meeting with La Rochelle and are ready to "box smart" in the final. Photo: Sportsfile

Sometimes the cliché lies. No scrum, no win? No problem for Leinster. So far!

Nine penalty concession in the last two rounds didn’t appear on the final ledger; two victories of thunderous acclaim against Leicester and Toulouse papered over the fissures in the set-piece. And yet there remains growing unease now as they await their final hurdle – with or without a final Furlong – as a La Rochelle outfit are even more capable of maximising the damage.

Aside from Tadhg Furlong’s injury woes, Andrew Porter (above) has suffered misfortune too, and also dips in personal form, particularly against such familiar French foes.

From whom better to see atonement than Atonio?

“It’s huge,” he says, as Kiwi Uini Atonio awaits. “It didn’t go our way on the day and we’ll be looking back to La Rochelle last season as well.

“It’s about learning from those days and boxing smart. We knew exactly what their strengths were. We might not be the biggest team in Europe, but hey, we have some of the smartest players in the world playing. We will be trying to keep the pace of the game high. That’s something we pride ourselves on.

“We know exactly how big those French packs are, that’s something they use with their power game in their scrum and maul.”

He may not know yet whether he is required to replace Furlong or complement him; either way, he will be a target after his side’s scrum wobbles. “Particularly because it’s my side as well. I’m trying to fix those mistakes that I have made recently, little small things.

“It’s not trying to reinvent the wheel here. You’re trying to kind of fine-tune a few things and that’s what you will really need against La Rochelle this week with the pack that they have. We’ll have to be on top of our game.”

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