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Qualification in Leinster's hands, now keep it that way -- Murphy

With few injury worries to deal with, the eight-day turnaround before facing Castres is not ideal for Leinster.
Jan 6th 2014, 2:30 PM 2,506 3

THE WEATHER MAY have forced a slight change of plan to for today’s Leinster training session, but Sunday’s visit to Castres can’t come quick enough for the eastern province.

Having escaped The Sportsground with a win, all blue eyes around UCD’s astroturf surface were  being trained on the trip to France.

There, Castres await with the usual disparity in their Dr Jekyll form in the Top 14 to Mr Hyde’s Heineken Cup.

“They’re going very well at the moment. They’re unbeaten at home in the league for over a year,” says Leinster skills coach Richie Murphy.

“It’s a very difficult place to go. I think they’ve only conceded five tries at home this year. It’s going to be a difficult task, but a task we’re looking forward to.”

Murphy and the rest of the coaching ticket in the eastern province are taking some solace in the fact they they are well placed compared to this stage last season when back-to-back defeats to Clermont ensured the three time champions would not escape the pool phase.

“This time last year we were looking for 10 points and hoping to get a chance to go through, but this year we know if we win both our games we’ll go through.

“It’s in our hands and we have to make sure we keep it that way.”

Doing that against the Top 14′s third-placed side will be aided by the eight days that separate their controversial win out west with their date in Stade Pierre Antoine.

Tight

Not that extra time is greatly needed, Murphy issued a relatively clean bill of health for Matt O’Connor’s squad. Rhys Ruddock sat out the light session on the artificial surface, but said that the calf problem which forced him out of the win over Connacht early was just a bit of tightness in the muscle.

Aaron Dundon is the least certain of those in recovery mode. The hooker suffered a heavy knock to his shoulder and will face an assessment before the team is announced on Friday. The illness that took Luke Fitzgerald out of the match-day squad has now passed.

“We get an extra couple of days for training, a little more rest built into the week. This week it’s an advantage to have an eight-day turnaround, but next week it will be five. So over the two weeks it’ll be a tough period. It’s very important that the lads are getting themselves mentally and physically right.”

Lam left to console himself with attacking ‘vision’ of Connacht

No glitz and glamour but O’Connor happy with Leinster win

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Sean Farrell

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