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Dublin: 2 °C Friday 15 November, 2019
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Nacewa: Leinster recovered and ready for Ospreys

Leinster players have gone nowhere near overboard with the celebrations, says Isa Nacewa

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

ISA NACEWA SAYS that Leinster are even more focused on their double chase than last year’s incarnation of the European champions.

12 months ago, the eastern province stunned Northampton in Cardiff and looked as though they believed they would continue to hold a hex over Munster.

A week later, though, they were shoved aside by John Hayes and co. in the Pro12 final at Thomond Park.

Nacewa, a star in both the Heineken Cup and Pro12 side, can see a definite sea-change in the mood between the class of 2011 and this week.

“Definitely. It’s been very player-driven this year, too.

“To enjoy the Heineken Cup win and then get the bodies right as quickly as possible. Pretty much straight after that match everybody has had it in the back of their heads to get ready for Ospreys and recover well.”

The unlikely sight of Jonathan Sexton name-checking the Pro12 final mere minutes after lifting the Heineken Cup is testament to the drive within this team and Nacewa revealed that he and several other starters in Twickenham were in on their day off to help sooth the aching muscles.

“Players enjoyed the win and there was even guys in here on Sunday in the pool, recovering well and getting in to see the strength and conditioning coaches. We’re preparing for a big week.”

As a third European title has been the ultimate prize for Leinster all season, Nacewa admitted that mental recovery time has been important, but having been beaten twice by the Ospreys this season, they will soon kick into a high gear to exact revenge for the home defeat in the 2010 final.

“It’s not hard to come back up for another final this week. We had Sunday and Monday off, just to calm the head and calm the nerves, after such a big week that was important.”

“It’s been a light day today also, but come tomorrow, we get back out on the pitch and everyone’s fired up and raring to go.”

Leaders

The fullback turned wing, said of a potential double: ”It would be (a special achievement), obviously it hasn’t been done. We had the chance last year, but probably weren’t in the right frame of mind. This year it’s player driven, coming from the leaders all the way down.”

Joe Schmidt and his coaching staff will count themselves lucky that no further serious injuries have come from their record European final win on Saturday.

Aside from long-term trouble for Rhys Ruddock (hip), Eoin O’Malley (knee) and Luke Fitzgerald (knee), Isaac Boss is the only doubt with a continued injury to his thigh muscle. The former Ulster scrum half has not yet been ruled out, but Eoin Reddan is the clear favourite to be retained as number nine.

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Sean Farrell

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