Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

O'Brien Eyes Irish Double; Heavyweights Leinster Are Favourites for the Cup

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

O'Brien Eyes Irish Double; Heavyweights Leinster Are Favourites for the Cup

Article excerpt

IRISH heavyweights Leinster will go into today's Heineken Cup final against Northampton as favourites for their second European title in three seasons.

But star flanker Sean O'Brien believes there is no danger of complacency creeping in, either this weekend or for next Saturday's Magners League final appointment with Munster in Limerick. He said: "We have had a brilliant season so far and we are exactly where we want to be - in the finals of both the Heineken Cup and the Magners League.

"But we have nothing won yet and we still have it all to do.

"There is a lot of excitement about the place thinking about what we could possibly do. But if we don't win something, we will just be the same as everyone else - taking early holidays.

"We know what we have to do. We have to go out and win a trophy, it is as simple as that.

"I was only involved in the 2009 final (against Leicester) as a replacement, and I never came off the bench. So this Heineken Cup final will certainly be the biggest game of my club career.

"It is an absolutely massive day for the players, the club and our phenomenal fans. We know we simply have to perform for them as well."

Leinster, whose talisman centre Brian O'Driscoll has been declared fit for the final after limping off during last week's Magners League semi-final win against Ulster, have reached Cardiff the hard way. Northampton boast a 100% record through the pool stages and knockout rounds, and they will become the first team to go through an entire Heineken Cup campaign unbeaten if they lift the trophy. But Leinster can reflect on toppling last season's Heineken Cup winners Toulouse, English champions Leicester, Tigers' fellow Aviva Premiership title contenders Saracens and two more powerful French clubs in Clermont Auvergne and Racing Metro. O'Brien added: "We had massive physical contests against Leicester and Toulouse, and we did what we had to do.

"But now, the Saints will be a different kettle of fish with different challenges.

They are playing good rugby. …

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