Young Leinster's cutting edge to help find a rhythm and overcome physical challenge of Treviso


Sporting mantras 101 advocates “staying in the moment”, to the exclusion of the promise of future reward and peripheral distractions. That’s the mental challenge for several Leinster players this evening at the RDS and it is likely to be gently endorsed by coach Joe Schmidt.

Declan Kidney will evaluate the impact of individual contributions but Schmidt will weigh those against how the patterns and playbook were implemented. His primary concern is how the team performs in pursuit of victory.

Luke Fitzgerald, Fergus McFadden, Ian Madigan and Devin Toner, to alight on just four, will know that there are broader ramifications in gauging how they perform. It’s reasonable to assume McFadden and Fitzgerald would dearly love to be wearing the number 12 jersey tonight, given Gordon D’Arcy’s misfortune. Eoin Reddan and Seán Cronin are handed game time given bench duty last weekend.

Eoin O’Malley’s long-term injury hiatus ended last weekend when he came on as a replacement but he starts tonight alongside Andrew Goodman. Leinster boast an experienced while still youthful three-quarter line and will be looking to maximise the cutting edge of their back three; in particular putting Fitzgerald in space.

Madigan will look to continue in a similar vein to last week, particularly in his game management and place-kicking. He must avoid trying too hard. Rhys Ruddock is handed the captaincy on the occasion of his 50th cap and leads a hard running, tough tackling backrow.

Plenty of mobility

Jack McGrath and Jamie Hagan are given a chance as the scrum’s pillars while the athletic Ben Marshall’s selection in the secondrow means that the home side have plenty of mobility. The presence of Leo Cullen, Isaac Boss and Shane Jennings in particular on the bench, guarantees a positive impact.

Benetton Treviso coach Franco Smith makes six changes to the side that lost 23-14 to the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade. Fullback Giulio Toniloatti, centre Andrea Pratichetti, wing Tommaso Iannone, outhalf James Ambrosini, prop Michele Rizzo and number eight Manoa Vosawi are introduced to the team.

The challenges for Leinster centre on the scrum, being aggressive and precise at the breakdown to ensure quick ruck ball and to vary the point and method of attack behind the scrum. They’ll look to unit leaders within the side to provide impetus.

Treviso are a physically tough side but if Leinster can find a rhythm and maintain a high tempo coupled with accuracy they should have a little too much for the visitors.

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