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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 11°C
©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
# Comeback Kid
Pro12: Fit again Reddan hoping to set the tone
The experienced scrum-half has fully recovered from a broken leg is is keen to arrest Leinster’s losing streak.

EOIN REDDAN CAME right out and said it, no beating around the bush.

“We’ve struggled every year. Seven years, I think it is, since we won our first Pro12 game.”

In fact, he assumed one extra year for good measure. Leinster’s last opening day league victory came in late September 2007.

A side featuring the names Juan Gomez, Christian Warner, Keith Gleeson and Stephen Keogh beat Edinburgh 23-8 thanks to tries from Gary Brown and up-and-coming pair; Luke Fitzgerald and Jonathan Sexton.

Since then, the best start they’ve managed was a 16-16 draw against Cardiff a year later. The poor opening nights include last year’s demolition at the hands of this Friday’s opponents, Llanelli Scarlets.

Not that anyone within the province would trade their season finishes for a slightly better start, but it’s an oddity of the stat-sheet that Matt O’Connor will be keen to rewrite having lost his two friendly outings this summer.

“I think being away from home is obviously tough in the first game,” Reddan adds, “you have to use thee preseason games wisely to build into that game.

“Hopefully we have this year, obviously the intensity is going to go up a hell of a lot from the past two weeks. It’s probably about not waiting to see what Llanelli bring but about setting the tone ourselves if we can.”

Setting the tone has proved to be Reddan’s great strength when on the field. However, he hasn’t had that chance since breaking his leg during Ireland’s Six Nations draw with France in March. The 32-year-old paid tribute to Leinster’s fitness team who have helped him return to a stage where is raring to go at the Scarlets.

“[The leg] is good, a lot of guys have worked so hard with me. The fitness staff here are in during holidays any everything, so I’ve been very lucky. It’s great that it has all worked out so far.”

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