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Johnny Sexton And Leinster Ready To Take On French Giants

Leinster Fly-half and British and Irish Lions favorite Johnny Sexton ready to do battle against Clermont.

The second round of European Champions Cup Playoffs are ready to ignite this weekend. Leinster will be traveling to France to play the great French club Clermont. Johnny Sexton will be leading the troops onto the field as Leinster will be looking to make their first European final since 2012.

Johnny Sexton feels confident about his team being back to their winning ways. Sexton said in an interview with the Independent last week, “We’ve got some key people in that have made a huge difference.” His performance this year with both Leinster and Ireland have made him the favorite for the number 10 shirt in this summer’s Lions tour. Sexton went on to say that, “Not having the World Cup, not having like four months (away), introducing yourself to the guys the first week of the Champions Cup, trying to get combinations going is one factor.”

Stuart Lancaster has had an amazing season with Leinster.

Following a disappointing tenure with English Rugby, Lancaster took over as Director of Rugby in Leinster. His performance since taking the reins has been amazing. Last season Leinster finished dead last in their pool winning only one of six matches. This season they lost only one match in pool play and had a very convincing win over the Premiership leaders, the Wasps. Many saw Lancaster as a failure from his time with England, but Leinster is giving him some means of redemption.

Cian Healy awaiting his fate following red card.

Tight head prop Cian Healy was cited last weekend for foul play in the ruck. Tomorrow he will go before a Pro 12 board in Edinburgh to decide his fate. If he is cleared it is likely that he will be on the bench for the clash with Clermont.

Jonathan Davies believes Clermont will prevail.

Welsh center and former Clermont player Jonathan Davies believes that Clermont have what it takes to be able to bring home the win against Leinster.

“There is a monkey on their back for always having been the bridesmaid in Europe, but they have so much quality and power in their side and they do look very comfortable at the moment.” Planet Rugby

Davies also believes that the key to Clermont is keeping a high pace against the Irish side.

“Playing at tempo is the key thing for Clermont. When they can play with real tempo the whole side comes alive.”

Leinster is playing with the hope of ending the English and French stranglehold.

It has been five years since a team from the Pro 12 has won the Champions Cup. Leinster will be fighting and working to restore the Pro 12 and specifically Ireland to a place of prominence. This has been a good year for the Pro 12 in the Champions Cup, and this weekend could deliver an all Ireland final. It is certain to be an exciting match.

Clermont v Leinster

Sunday, April 23, 2 PM (GMT)

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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