Former Leinster legend Brian O’Driscoll believes his old team can progress to the final if they step up in France this Sunday.
Leinster Rugby are up against European Cup champions RC Toulon in Marseille this weekend and O’Driscoll thinks the team that ‘have the balls to step up’ will go through.
“When Leinster get into a semi-final I think they believe they can win it," he said.
"There’s very little difference between teams in any semi-finals, you’ve just got to hope you can hang in there and give yourself an opportunity of getting into a final. The one’s who have the balls to step up are the ones that will deserve to go through.
“Can they [Leinster] stop them? Yes. Will they stop them? probably not. Leinster will have learnt from last year’s quarterfinal defeat but it’s just too big of a challenge. There are a lot of classy players in that Toulon team even though they’re not quite as good as last year.
BIG GAME NEEDED
Jonny Sexton, who was part of that European dominating Leinster side from 2009-2011, will sign back for the Irish rugby club after he finishes his season with Racing Metro. O’Driscoll believes losing Sexton has impacted the sides attacking play.
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“I don’t think they’re as good as an attacking side as that 2012 team," he concluded.
"With the greatest of respect to Jimmy Gopperth any team that loses Johnny Sexton is going to be less for it. In a pivotal position such as 10, someone like Johnny can turn a game as he did in the final in 2012 or the 2011 against Northampton where he turned it around on his own.
"I think Jimmy needs to have a really big game. The eight, nine, ten access have to have huge games and ensure the backs get front-foot ball.”
Toulon will be looking to win an unprecedented third European Cup in three seasons, but should Leinster go through to the final and win it, it would make it their fourth European Cup win, equalling Toulon’s record as the most successful team in European club competition.
We could be seeing an all-French final at Twickenham this year, a prospect that O'Driscoll agrees with based on past performances.
“If I have to pick a team judging on last weekends performance I’d have to go for Clermont just because I think three in a row will always be a huge shout and I just fancy Clermont to be a little hungrier than Toulon, which if those two go to the final there wont be much in it- I hope it’s the other two but it’s not.”