Champions Cup: Former Ireland boss would be ‘shocked’ if Leinster fail to beat Leicester

·2-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Former Ireland head coach Eddie O’Sullivan believes that Leicester Tigers are being given “too much credit”, despite a fine season which sees them residing at the summit of the Premiership.

Tigers boss Steve Borthwick has done an outstanding job at the Welford Road-based outfit, leading them to the top of England’s top tier with 18 victories in 22 matches.

They have also impressed in Europe, going through the tournament unbeaten following four victories in the group stages and successive wins over Clermont Auvergne in the last-16.

Leinster will be by far Leicester’s biggest test of the season, though, and O’Sullivan insists that the Irish giants will be too strong for Borthwick’s men.

Locked and loaded

“I’ll probably get hammered for saying this, but I think we’re giving Leicester too much credit. They’re a very good team, no question, but I’d be shocked if Leinster don’t beat them at the weekend. I think Leinster are locked and loaded at the moment, they’ve managed their resources brilliantly,” he told the RTE podcast.

“They’re in a great place, this has been planned along the way. I’m not taking away from Leicester, they’re a good team, top of the Premiership, but let’s not forget Connacht scared the pants off them in the European Cup.

“At Welford Road the final score was 29-23, and the score at the Sportsground was 28-29. I just think Leinster are a better side, they have more strings to their bow.”

Leinster have claimed Europe’s top-tier competition on four occasions but only once since 2012 – in 2018 – have they lifted the title.

They have consistently reached the latter stages of the Champions Cup, however, and O’Sullivan believes that they will be too good for the Tigers.

“We’re probably talking Leicester up a bit. I don’t see the evidence, in Europe, that Leicester are as good as we make them out to be. Connacht really could have had them twice, so for that reason I’m very optimistic about Leinster winning in Leicester,” he added.

“If they lose in Welford Road, they’ll be devastated, because it would unhinge the potential of a huge season.

“Despite what Leicester bring to the table, I just think Leinster have too much firepower, whether up front or in the backline. I’m more relaxed about this than maybe some people are. It’s Leinster’s game to lose, if they play to par they’re going to win.”

READ MORE: Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster insists they do not have ‘unfair advantage’ over Leicester

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