Preview, Team news and betting odds.
Friday 12th October, R.D.S Dublin @ 7:45pm
Referee: Romain Poite
TV: BT Sports
Leinster are set for their first defence of the Champions Cup trophy that they won in Bilbao in May. Wasps are the visitors to the R.D.S. for what promises to be a fantastic occasion.
I caught up with Leo Cullen and Johnny Sexton at the recent launch of the rebranded Heineken Champions Cup at the Aviva and they both spoke about their excitement at the new season of European rugby. Leo Cullen said “things do move on quick, the competition is getting stronger all the time. We have memories of playing Wasps and Bath (also in pool 1) a few years ago and that didn’t go well for us, so if your a little bit off (form) in this tournament you’ll get destroyed.”
Johnny Sexton was looking forward to the atmosphere generated by a big Friday night game – “I grew up watching Leinster on a Friday night in Donnybrook and they made for special occasions. I can still remember watching Leinster beat Toulouse there and a pretty special performance from Trevor Brennan who I had known from Bective. So those are the memories that stick with me.”
Leinster will be anxious to get off to a good start in pool 1. The opposition in their group is formidable as Wasps, Bath and Toulouse are all previous winners of the competition. Friday night’s opponents’ Wasps currently lie third in the Gallagher Premiership and the Coventry based side will be anxious to make amends for their home defeat to Gloucester last weekend when form player Danny Cipriani pulled the strings for his new club as Wasps lost out 21-35. Wasps will be boosted by the return of Willie Le Roux from international duty with South Africa.
Leinster have shown in recent weeks that they have both the power and subtlety to win through either strength or guile and often a combination of both. That trait will be essential on Friday night as the weather conditions will potentially pose as much a challenge as the opposition.
Wasps: Willie Le Roux; Josh Bassett, Juan de Jongh, Michael Le Bourgeois, Elliot Daly (c); Lima Sopoaga, Joe Simpson; Zurabi Zhvania, Tommy Taylor, Kieran Brookes; Will Rowlands, James Gaskell; Brad Shields, Thomas Young, Nizaam Carr
Leinster are short-priced favourites at 3/20, Wasps are available from multiple bookmakers at 6/1 to upset the reigning Champions. The draw is available at 40/1. The bookies are offering Wasps +15 on the handicap market, and if the weather forecast is as severe as promised for Friday this could represent great value, as could the total points market, which is yet to be published.