Wednesday 21 February 2018

Leinster v Ospreys - Guide to the game

David Kelly

David Kelly

Form guide: Leinster WLWWW, Ospreys WWWWL

Betting: Leinster 1/10, Draw 35/1, Ospreys 10/1

Handicap: Leinster 10/11 (-16), handicap draw (-16) 20/1, Ospreys (+16) 10/11

KEY MAN

Jamie Heaslip (Leinster)

With Sean O'Brien's on-field absence still keenly felt, Heaslip's importance is maximised. The Ireland No 8 is among the top 10 tacklers (50) and top 15 carriers (49) in the Heineken Cup. He has also won six turnovers -- a total bettered by only three players in the tournament -- confirming his form has been unaffected by off-field distractions.

Three things Leinster must do

Clip Ospreys' wings from the start

Leinster never left the sheds against Northampton -- that is likely to cost them a home quarter-final. They simply cannot afford another sluggish opening this evening. Expect fire and brimstone to exhale from the home hordes -- and the away side to wilt in the heat.

Keep the discipline

The above approach must be disciplined. Dan Biggar is the tournament's top points scorer and has yet to miss a shot in 20 attempts. With Justin Tipuric winning more turnovers (13) than any other player after five rounds, Leinster must secure and protect the ball swiftly -- and legally -- or face punishment from the tee.

Focus on four not five

Leinster will need to approach this like any regular RDS encounter in the Pro12: focus on winning the game first and then reassess within the contest, perhaps at the 50 or 60-minute mark, whether an assault on the bonus point is conceivable.

Irish Independent

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