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Heineken Cup: Leinster face tough task without O’Driscoll and Horgan

| 09.11.2011

The start of Leinster’s Heineken Cup defence was hard enough even before talisman Brian O’Driscoll was ruled out for several months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The reigning champions begin with a difficult trip to Stade de la Mosson to take on Montpellier this Saturday and the absences of O’Drsicoll and Shane Horgan – who is also out for several months after undergoing knee surgery – make this trip even harder.

The absence of the experienced back-line duo is a big blow to coach Joe Schmidt, with the pair playing integral roles in Leinster’s Heineken Cup wins in 2009 and 2011.

However, the Irishmen should still have more than enough to see off an underperforming Montpellier side.

Fergus McFadden deputised for O’Driscoll last week and his partnership with Gordon D’Arcy should certainly cause the French side plenty of problems.

Montpellier have won just two of their opening nine games in the French Top 14 but with their World Cup stars back – including forwards Mamuka Gorgodze and Fulgence Ouedraogo – they will not roll over.

Leinster are 4/7 favourites to win the clash, while their hosts are out at 11/8 to begin their Heineken Cup campaign with a victory.

It promises to be a tight game but Leinster, who currently sit second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table behind the Ospreys, have won their previous five games and overcame rivals Munster in a tight 24-19 win last Friday.

Backing the in-form Irish side to win with a -3pt handicap looks tempting at 10/11.



Richard Anderson