Saturday 23 March 2019

Leinster's Leavy claims 'it's time to step up'

STEPPING UP: Dan Leavy. Photo: Sportsfile
STEPPING UP: Dan Leavy. Photo: Sportsfile

It would seem Jamie Heaslip was preaching to the converted when he spoke about how he was all about winning.

The retired number eight received a rapturous reception at The Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

He can be proud about what he achieved in his career and the legacy of the club culture he has left behind.

"Winning is everything," said Dan Leavy, Leinster's Man of the Match.

"Last year, we played some incredible rugby with a lot of young players coming through.

"Now, it's time to step up and take our prize."

The tantalising prospect of an all-Irish final in Bilbao is something Leinster or Munster cannot afford to contemplate.

The Scarlets and Racing 92 demand respect for how they have come this far.

When the Welsh club comes to Dublin, it will find a fast track and big pitch to their liking, like they did in the PRO14 final against Munster last season.

The Aviva Stadium is beginning to find its voice this season which is totally down to that winning feeling.

"The crowd was incredible," noted Leavy.

"We almost had a full house. We're hoping for the same or even better again in three weeks' time.

"It would be brilliant because it does make a massive difference.

"Even though we've got a home advantage here, we've got to use it and, you know, hearing the crowd roar like that and get behind you, it gives players two or three per cent that can be the winning or losing of the game."

It is one thing to win with Ireland; another to do it with your province.

"Leinster is like a family," sad the flanker.

"It is your home for 90% of the year. You're with your best mates.

"It's special and something we've touched on.

"It's do or die when it comes to the end of the season, and it's time to step up."

The Scarlets have moved on from last season to become better at what they do and Leinster have too.

"We'd like to think we've learned a lot of lessons from Clermont last year, and Scarlets, and that it's helped us to evolve as a team," said Leavy.

"We've got two big weeks now in the PRO14 to put us into a good position coming into the knock-out stages.

"We also have an eye now on a Scarlets team that is in serious form and they have so many Welsh internationals and world class players."

And he just can't wait.

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