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Friday 20 October 2017

McLaughlin ready to assume the role of captain

LEINSTER v EDINBURGH, The RDS, Tonight (KO 7.35) Live TG4

Kevin McLaughlin will walk where others might fear to tread, right into the shoes of Jamie Heaslip.

"It is always a huge honour to captain the side," he said.

"I mean I look at Jamie. He leads by example. He doesn't talk too much. He does all the right things. Week-in, week-out, he works harder than anyone else on the team.

"He does all the hard work as he has done for the last few years. But, it is becoming more noticeable in the amount of carrying he's doing for us with the likes of Cian Healy and Seanie being out.

"He's really taken over that mantle. He's been absolutely instrumental in the two Champions Cup wins.

"I look at him and I see I have to lead by example as well".

It is easier said than done after being seven weeks out with an annoying injury.

"I just got some nasty bone-bruising on my knee. It is one of those things. It can take a week. Or, it can take twelve weeks. In my case, it took seven weeks.

"I've got two weeks training under my belt now, got two weeks contact, and feeling good, raring to go."

It is Leinster who need to go places at sixth in the table, a whopping ten points away from the leaders Ospreys.

The plan is to bring the discipline they showed in Castres back home against an Edinburgh side that always holds onto the ball for long periods.

"We spoke about at during the week. They will go through a lot of phases," he stated.

"We just need to be very disciplined, maintain the discipline we showed against Castres last week; not give away silly penalties and let them build up (a lead) three, six, nine (points).

FOCUSED

"When we have the ball be very ball focused, go through phases ourselves and we'll be able to strangle them a bit that way".

There have been problems in getting over the gain line. At times, Heaslip and hooker Sean Croninhave looked like a one-man army.

Heaslip's understudy Jack Conan will pull on the No8 jersey tonight.

"He brings size. He brings great ball carrying ability," reviewed McLaughlin.

"He's a very talented guy, has shown it in training, has shown it in bits of the games that he has played this season. There are huge hopes for him in the club. He is getting his third start.

"He is an out and out number eight and could be a replacement for Jamie (Heaslip) if he ever retires.

"Maybe in about 20 years".

Leinster: Z Kirchner; D Fanning, B Te'o, N Reid, L Fitzgerald; J Gopperth, L McGrath; M Bent, R Strauss, T Furlong, T Denton, K Douglas, K McLaughlin (capt), D Ryan, J Conan.

Edinburgh: N McLennan; D Fife, J Dominguez, A Strauss (capt), T Visser; T Heathcote, S Hidalgo-Clyne; A Dell, J Hilterbrand, W Nel, B Toolis, J Turley, M Bradbury, T Leonardi, D Denton.

Verdict: Leinster

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