LEINSTER ARE RIDING high.
And in a week between two finals it seems there is little chance to look down.
Yesterday, Cian Healy was given the chance to throw in a nice word for the retired Denis Leamy, but declined.
“We’re hearing a few players in the last while, retiring. It’s obviously terrible for them and whatever, with injuries and things like that.” Said Healy.
“I’ll send him on a message, but it’s not something I’ll be worried about this week.”
It was cold blooded, professional.
In the heat of battle, the loose head was not keen on having loose talk about pain, injury and the fleeting nature of professional rugby trip lightly from his tongue.
Healy has, no doubt, already sent a private message of commiseration to Leamy. But it was not anything he would share with the world. A show of weakness in a period when only absolute relentlessness is good enough.
While the rest of the world is talking about the greatest team in Europe, potentially ever in the short history of the European cup, Leinster prefer to use a different word. It’s testament to Joe Schmidt’s pervasive teachings that the word ‘legacy’ is now the common turn of phrase from his charges.
“It’s something that we strive for – to make a legacy of what your team is,” says Healy, “but it’s not something that you stop and think about. It’s always something that you want to continue and better it and better it again.
“You’ll never have that if you stop and and don’t go through this week, chase that win and get two finals. That’s how you get yourself further on.”
That second final is now the last game of Leinster’s campaign. One last chance to stamp their authority on the season. They are fortunate in many ways that they meet one of the few teams who could not inspire complacency. The Ospreys at the end of an era are one last hurdle to be overcome.
“They are bit of a bogey team for us,” admitted Isa Nacewa, “(beating us in the 2010) Magners final and then twice this season. They pumped us in the first game and then taught us a thing or two around the breakdown.”
On those two occasions it could be argued that the Neath-Swansea franchise caught the Heineken Cup champions off balance. The first day of the season and a night when Brian O’Driscoll’s return to the field perhaps proved a distraction too big – not withstanding the late stroke of luck from a Dan Biggar conversion which helped him forget this little fiasco.
After a Sunday and Monday off, Healy admits that today will be the first real day back to work after more recovery sessions yesterday.
First up; he’ll have to sit down with the video analysts and watch Saturday back with a more critical eye. He’s already watched it back for kicks. Then; all eyes will be locked on the black shirts across the sea, a side who have comfortably brushed Munster aside to get to this stage.
“We’re clued into that,” Healy assured the fans and the room of assembled press at Riverview, “it’s a big week for us to get everything in the right place and the right set up to win it.”
An unprecedented double is the target. Sentiment will have to wait.
“We’re all quite focused on doing a job, then maybe talk to (Leamy) in future about something like that.”