Saturday 18 November 2017

First-choice Reddan eager to nail down Aviva quarter-final

HE has had to scrap for the No 9 shirt at every club he's been at, but Eoin Reddan is ready to make his 50th Heineken Cup appearance this weekend against Montpellier.

After being an understudy to Peter Stringer at Munster when he made his Heineken debut in 2004, and a deputy to Matt Dawson when he joined Wasps in 2005, Reddan now finds himself locked in a battle for the scrum-half slot with Isaac Boss at Leinster.

Eventually Reddan forced his way into the Wasps side and was pivotal in the London club's march to the Heineken Cup crown in 2007.

Having finally established himself as Leinster's first-choice nine and picking up his second European winners' medal in Cardiff last May, Reddan is now in competition with Boss at provincial level and Munster's Conor Murray at international level.

The 31-year-old was named in Declan Kidney's Six Nations squad but is not going to allow that to distract him from Saturday's task.

"We're going to prepare as normal," stressed Reddan. "To me there's no issue, it's going to be an important week and we'll need a performance."

With Leinster already through to the last eight, all that remains to be decided is whether the reigning champions can seal a home quarter-final.

Victory will ensure an Aviva Stadium quarter-final and although Montpellier are rumoured to be bringing a second-string side, Reddan is guarding against complacency.

"We don't know what kind of team they're going to bring over but there's enough competition within our own squad that everybody who plays will want to put their foot forward for games. We have to win," he said.

Reddan acknowledges the importance of playing at home, both against Montpellier this weekend and for a post-Six Nations quarter-final.

"It (home advantage) is obviously very important," he said. "The expectation is higher at home and you need that little bit of fear factor to get the performance you want."

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