Leinster will make their return to the knockout stages of Europe’s elite cup competition this weekend when they welcome Wasps to the Aviva Stadium.
The blues currently sit top of the Guinness Pro12 on 70 points, following a hard-earned 22-21 win over Cardiff on Saturday, while their English opposition qualified for the playoffs of the Aviva Premiership on the same day.
Results against the Wasps have not been kind in recent times for the Irish Provence, going down heavily in both of last season’s Champions Cup pool fixtures, where the blues eventually finished bottom.
Although he wasn’t involved in either of those games, centre Robbie Henshaw believes Leinster have developed immensely since “I think we’re a different side this year. We’ve shown we’re playing with a lot of confidence, playing a great brand of rugby and scoring a lot of tries. We’ll obviously want to write that wrong.”
Wasps qualified for the playoffs with an entertaining 40-33 win at the Ricoh Arena, with the game turning in the hosts favour when Bryce Heem saw red. Despite the win, Henshaw believes the scoreline shows a clear area to exploit “Obviously they score a lot of tries, but we’ve seen a bit of analysis and they do to leak a few tries. Playing against Worcester, they conceded about 3 or 4. That’s an area we’ll look to exploit in attack.”
Leinster, however, have their own problems to solve. Leo Cullen faces a selection headache as he ponders whether to welcome back several international stars into the starting line-up, or stick with the players who saw them win their last five games, with four of them being bonus point victories.
“The lads performed unbelievably well. They got 4 bonus point victories which is completely positive. They’re some great young lads in the squad at the moment playing with great confidence. For the lads that are coming in it creates great competition and bring the best out of the squad.”
Kick off at the Aviva is at 3:15pm.