Brian O'Driscoll leads Devin Toner at Leinster training today. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
top dog

Familiar territory: BOD comfortable with favourites' tag ahead of Blues battle

Brian O’Driscoll got 80 minutes under his belt at Thomond Park and it’s full steam ahead to Heineken Cup action.

WITH A FAIRLY forgettable victory over Munster behind them, Leinster were only looking ahead to this weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-final.

A clean bill of health is expected, despite the few knocks and bruises which hampered today’s training session.

Jonathan Sexton’s early withdrawal was purely precautionary after hitting his fourth penalty.

The fly-half suffered only a slight cramp. The only serious doubt hangs over the availability of Eoin O’Malley.

Brian O’Driscoll’s deputy missed the trip to Limerick with a calf strain and he will face further examination before the team is announced on Friday.

Even a fully fit O’Malley would not start this game as O’Driscoll continued his recovery from surgery with a strong 80 minutes against the rivals from the south.

Good sign

That landmark, his first in the Pro12 this season, was made all the more encouraging by the ease at which the centre achieved it.

“I felt a lot better after getting 80 minutes on Saturday and I felt pretty good at the final whistle. I felt like I could go on for another little while, which is always a good sign. So I’m getting there (fitness) comes with each game.”

As he eyed up the opposition, the former skipper installed his side as favourites for the game by praising the Welsh outfit as, “definitely a side that’s capable of an upset.”

So, the home side are comfortable having the extra pressure of being expected to progress to the semis?

“I think you have to accept certain tags at times.” said the Heineken Cup’s second most prolific try-scorer, “people are always going to brand one team ‘favourite’ and the other ‘underdog’.”

“You have to accept that over the past couple of years the fact that we’ve won a couple of Heineken Cups, and we’re at home, that we’re going to be somewhat favourites.”

“But it doesn’t count for anything, the form you brought in from one competition into another. We’ve seen teams excel in one competition and really struggle in others throughout  number of different sports.”

“You could be doing not brilliant in the Rabo and go onto achieve honours in Europe so we have to be on our guard and ensure we are able to bring that consistency through to the Heineken.”

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