Monday 14 October 2019

Doris: Buzz from home crowd always lifts us

Caelan Doris. Photo: Sportsfile
Caelan Doris. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster Rugby make their return to the RDS Arena tonight, five months after they last took to the venue to face Munster in the semi-final of the Guinness PRO14.

The faithful that roared the hosts on to victory that day, and then the following week in Celtic Park, will be anxious to see the team continue their good start to the campaign.

That home crowd is something that resonates massively with the players and the influence of a strong backing is something that No 8 Caelan Doris (below) believes can be the difference between a positive and negative outcome.

"It's going to be exciting to be back in the RDS, especially on a Friday night," the Mayo native said.

"Hopefully, the early World Cup times won't affect the crowd too much. Hopefully, we'll have a decent crowd in there and live off the buzz and the intensity they give us.

"There's always a big lift from them so looking forward to getting back there."

Ospreys provide the opposition and will be aiming to give a stronger account of themselves than they did last year, succumbing to a 52-7 defeat on a cold November night in which Scott Penny enjoyed a try-scoring debut for the province.

It was one of seven tries scored by Leinster in the game, played during the international window.

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For Doris, the objective is to build on the performance from last week in Treviso where Leinster secured a bonus-point victory which, he says, could have been better.

"The target going over was to get the five points, so we achieved that and happy we got that.

"A good way to start the season but from a performance point of view definitely a lot to work on.

"The theme throughout pre-season was we've started really well and, through our errors, we've given the team entry back into the game.

"We saw that again a little bit on Saturday. A more consistent performance throughout the 80 minutes is what we'll be looking for."

Team-mate Jamison Gibson-Park is another of the Leinster contingent looking forward to getting back out in front of that raucous home crowd.

The Kiwi scrum-half has recovered from an injury-laden end to the season just gone to start Leinster's opening game of the campaign.

He controlled much of the game with out-half Ross Byrne, particularly when the Italians were reduced to 14 men after Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara's red card.

He's done his homework ahead of Ospreys and sees the Welsh region as a very different challenge to the team that travelled to Dublin last year.

"They've got a new coaching team and they've switched a few things up already having looked at a bit of their video there," explained Gibson-Park.

"It's a fresh challenge and a good one to get stuck into for the second game of the season."

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