Brian O'Driscoll boost for Leinster ahead of Huge Heineken Cup Final on Saturday
Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 03:16 PM
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The news that Brian O'Driscoll is to take a full part in training on Friday will come as a massive boost to Leinster boss Joe Schmidt.
O'Driscoll suffered a knee injury in the team's last Magner's league outing, a semi final victory over Ulster that sets up a meeting with rivals Munster in the final.
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said, "We're pretty confident that by tomorrow (Friday) he will be able to stretch out and be able to fully accelerate."
O'Driscoll may not be the team's captain any longer, that mantle falls to Leo Cullen, but he remains one of the best if not the best player in the world. As such his health will be crucial to the team's chances at lifting their second Cup in the last three years.
Leinster face Northampton in the final who easily swept aside Perpignan in their semi final. Northampton are a team without many weaknesses and pride themselves on a resolute all around team. Nonetheless O'Driscoll's ability to create from any position on the field will give him a vital advantage over the probable starters for the Premiership side Jon Clarke and James Downey.
The news that Richardt Strauss is also likely to play in the game could be even bigger news.
While Fergus McFadden has come in and played well in place of O'Driscoll this season Strauss' value to the Leinster pack is irreplaceable.
Strauss has been a huge player for the side throughout the season showing a versatility in the open field while being a wrecking ball in the ruck. The South African adds to what is already a very versatile group of forwards. With him on the field you have a reliability in the lineout as well as the impact of an extra back row forward.
That's without even considering the fact that he can run away from defenders like a winger.
Undoubtedly Leinster will be looking to these two leaders to drive them towards victory in Cardiff but every player will need to stand up and fight (to steal a Munster phrase) if they are to beat Northampton.
The match kicks off at 17:00 GMT in Cardiff on Saturday.
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