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Wednesday 18 October 2017

Ruddock: We need to get a quick start to put pressure on Castres

It looked for all the world like there were three Jamie Heaslip's manically pursuing ball and all against Wasps, buzzing here, there and everywhere to earn a truck-full of plaudits.

In a way, there were three Heaslips as Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan also wore white headbands that made them so difficult to split as the moments whizzed by.

For example, as Wasps centre Alapati Leiua plucked Noel Reid's reverse pass to Darragh Fanning out of thin air and hared away for an intercept try, it was reported that Heaslip was the last man to give up the ghost of an impossible hunt.

In fact, on closer inspection, it was Ruddock, grimacing in pain as he chased a hopeless cause.

Sometimes others inadvertently cash in on the credit that should be yours.

"I might take the head-gear off then! Nah, I don't mind," he engaged.

The swings and roundabouts effect of the game means where you lose out one minute, you gain in the next.

"It is pretty inspirational and, hopefully, it inspires everyone to row in behind him, try to emulate that sort of work rate.

INTENSITY

"On the whole, on review of the game, on the stats, people were bringing a different intensity to the games previous this season, everyone's work rate, everyone's metres covered, impacts in the game were all much higher".

None more than Ruddock's back row sidekick Dominic Ryan.

"I managed to claim Dominic's try at one point," chuckled Ruddock.

"One of the fans after the game asked was it me who scored the try and I said 'yes'. You win some you lose some.

"It doesn't really bother me as long as the general message was that our back-row seemed to stand up and really take it to Wasps. As long as we front up as a team it doesn't really".

There is something of a future Leinster and Ireland leader about Ruddock as he flexes the biceps bulging out from a short sleeve top.

The Blues will need all their muscle to confront and subdue what will surely be a raging Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre Antoine on Sunday.

"There was definitely increased intensity on the weekend.

HARDER

"We seemed to be hitting the breakdown that much harder, guys fighting to get across the gain line even though they posed quite a physical pressure on us themselves.

"I think this weekend will be another step up in terms of physicality and intensity. We need to keep on producing that".

Castres showed at Harlequins that they were ready to go to war, staying in contention until Conor O'Shea's men put on the after-burners.

Either way, Leinster know, win or lose away from home, Castres bring overpowering heat in the comfort of their own hearth.

"From watching the away game last year - I wasn't involved - I don't think we can afford to have as slow a start against away from home," said Ruddock.

"Although they've had a fairly slow start in the Top 14 this year, they're winning their home games, which you'd always expect from a team like them.

"So it's going to be a big challenge. The lads had to dig really, really deep to get over the line last year in the away game and drag themselves out of a big hole.

"I think we need to have a quick start and, hopefully, not make the same mistakes we made at the weekend with just letting them in for tries when we had the pressure on them".

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