Thankfully Jonny Sexton shows no scars from the heavy defeat he suffered in just his second ever appearance for Racing Metro at the same venue Leinster travel to for their Heineken Cup quarter-final.
With that experience under his belt though, who better to ask if he thinks the the Blues can go to the Stade Mayol on the 6th of April and beat Toulon?
“Yea I would say so yea. The Stade Mayol, it’s a great place to play in I think. It’ll inspire a lot of the Leinster lads, they’re used to these big occasions and big atmospheres. I’d fancy them to win it, they’ve got the players.”
Sexton admits that Sean O’Brien’s absence leaves a big hole in the Leinster team but one that he feels can be plugged. The Irish international then shows he has his finger on rugby’s pulse, rattling off names of injured players that the Heineken Cup champs could be without for the visit of the Irish province.
“They’re missing some really important guys as well, I think they’ve lost Bakkies Botha, maybe for the quarters. (Chris) Masoe and (Juan Martin) Fernandez Lobbe, there wouldn’t be too many teams they wouldn’t get into in the world. Leinster have a massive opportunity there.”
If Leinster get past the defending champs, they could face old rivals Munster in a repeat of the 2009 semi-final which Les Bleus won 25-6 at Croke Park. It was a memorable day for the then 23-year-old who replaced Felipe Contepomi in the first-half and went on to score 7 points including a long range penalty straight off the bench. The suggestion that the clash could happen gets Sexton pondering.
“I wonder if I’d miss playing that game or not miss it? It’s one of those ones where you know, the morning of the game you’re wishing you weren’t playing and then when you’re in the thick of it you love it. It’s all to play for in the Heineken. It’s strange not being involved in it but I think one of the Irish teams will win it.”
If you missed the Sexton interview on 98FM, you can listen back to it here... bit.ly/1g8O4lF
Image ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker