Thursday 22 March 2018

'Galacticos' can ground the Ospreys

O'Driscoll and Cullen set to prove a Thorn in side of Welsh raiders

LEINSTER's very own version of the 'galacticos', Brian O'Driscoll, Leo Cullen and Brad Thorn, for what they are worth to the province, will all be on show at the RDS tonight.

Thirty-three-year-old O'Driscoll has seemingly defied medical science in returning to action six weeks ahead of schedule. The man could lasso the moon.

Coach Joe Schmidt said he was "a fast healer". And how right he was! This once-in-a-generation rugby player is back to do what he does best.

However, this return does come with a form warning. He will need at least two or three games to get back to where he wants to be.

Don't expect too much too soon.

This should not overshadow the importance of the inclusion of captain Leo Cullen from his Achilles operation in February and the introduction of Brad Thorn to the general public.

These do make for exciting times, considering Leinster's place at the head of the PRO12 League, the rendezvous with Munster at Thomond Park next week and the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues on Saturday, April 7.

But, the old mantra still applies -- one game at a time. Schmidt's Leinster may be 11 points clear of Munster and 14 in front of the Ospreys, but they have won just one of their last four matches against the Welsh club.

Who will ever forget how Tommy Bowe and the Ospreys came to Dublin to wrestle the Magners' League crown from Leinster less than two years ago?

This is just a sharp reminder of how quickly this world turns. Schmidt is not known for his lack of detail or planning when it comes to building a culture at Leinster or a lead in the PRO12.

Their unbeaten run of 19 wins and one draw is a credit to how Schmidt has shown faith in his squad. He has walked the walk in terms of the rotation of his selection.

The Ospreys have released their grip on a top-two finish with successive defeats by Ulster and Glasgow. However, they have not lost three on the trot since May 2008.

The Heineken Cup is not a factor for them. They only have one egg left and it is in the PRO12 basket.

This is one to savour for all sorts of reasons.

Leinster v The Ospreys, The RDS, tonight 7.05 (RTE2)

Verdict: Leinster.

Leinster: I Nacewa; D Kearney, B O'Driscoll, F McFadden, L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, N White, L Cullen (capt), B Thorn, R Ruddock, D Ryan, L Auva'a.

The Ospreys: R Fussell; H Dirksen, A Bishop, A Beck, E Walker; D Biggar, K Fotuali'i; P James, R Hibbard, A Jarvis, R Jones, A Wyn Jones (Capt), T Smith, J Tipuric, G Stowers.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News