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Dublin: 21 °C Sunday 21 April, 2019

Leinster acutely aware of Nadolo threat, but determined to impose pace on Montpellier

It’s win and in for Leinster tonight. But victory won’t come easy this time around.

WHEN THE FINAL whistle blew in Montpellier in October, with Leinster quietly delighted with the fightback to get a losing bonus point, there was still no dissent in anyone’s mind about who was getting the man of the match award.

Nemani Nadolo.

Montpellier’s Nemani Nadolo Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

130 kilos of high-performance, the Fijian prop-shaped wing bull-dozed, flattened and flew. That Leinster limited him to just two tries – one an outright gift of an intercept – was to their immense credit.

The ex-Crusaders star is a master of using not only his sheer heft and power as a weapon, but combining it with his considerable hands and comfortable carrying style to keep his hands free as an offload threat.

“You probably do a little bit extra,” says Leinster captain Isa Nacewa of his fellow Fiji-capped wing.

“Talk about tackle technique, he’s one player you have to really understand how he plays and how he carries the ball. As a back-line we would have all talked about his threat throughout the week.”

Leinster, we expect, will look to target the ball rather than attempt to defeat the the Fijian in every physical confrontation. The task won’t fall to just one man, but as the allotted right wing for tonight’s Champions Cup round 5 clash at the RDS (kick-off 19.45, Sky Sports 2) Adam Byrne will be the man most often face-t0-face with Nadolo.

Adam Byrne Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“Adam,” adds Nacewa with confident raised lip, “talk about a guy who’s taken his opportunity and prepared well off the field, he’s done that every week. He’s consistent in that too. He’s as prepared this week as he is any other week.”

Needing just a win – any win – to guarantee their return to the quarter-final stage, Leinster stress that preparation means much more than just dealing with one – however large – man on the left touchline. Leo Cullen will set his side up to impose an energetic attack with difficult targets for the bulkier Top 14 side.

“We want to play a type of game where; we have the ball and we’re making life difficult by playing at pace, the type of game we want to play,” says Cullen.

“Similarly in defence we want to make life uncomfortable for them when they have the ball.”

Nacewa nodded along as he read off the same hymn-sheet:

“We’ve got to go out and play our type of game. It’s about conditions, but it’s about us at the end of the day and looking to improve a hell of a lot on what we did last time. Because what we did last time didn’t work. We’ve learned those lessons and, fingers-crossed, we’ll go out and play our style of game.”

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Nacewa braced for ‘Test match’ intensity from Montpellier to heat up RDS

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Sean Farrell

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