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Brian O'Driscoll Thinks Pain Of La Rochelle Defeat Is "Fuelling" Leinster

Brian O'Driscoll Thinks Pain Of La Rochelle Defeat Is "Fuelling" Leinster
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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Last year's Champions Cup final brought bitter disappointment for Leinster, with a last gasp try for Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle denying them an historic fifth crown.

Having marched to the final with impressive victories over Connacht, Leicester, and Toulouse, they were stunned by Arthur Retiere's last-minute try snatching victory from the jaws of defeat for La Rochelle in Marseille.

It was one of Leinster's toughest moments, but they have returned to the final in remarkable fashion this season, laying waste to all in their way en route to the final on home soil.

They sealed their place in the showpiece event with a 41-22 victory over Toulouse on Saturday afternoon, taking advantage of some indiscipline from the French side to run riot against the five-time European champions.


Leinster now have a chance to match Toulouse's five triumphs in next month's final in the Aviva Stadium. They will face either La Rochelle or Exeter in Dublin - and Brian O'Driscoll thinks the side will be licking their lips at the prospect of a rematch with the French.

Brian O'Driscoll thinks memories of Marseille are pushing Leinster on

Brian O'Driscoll appeared as part of BT's punditry team for the Champions Cup semi-final between Leinster and Toulouse on Saturday and, like the entire punditry team, was blown away by the strength of Leinster against imperious opposition.

He noted the differences from last year's semi-final victory against the same opposition, before surmising that the Irish side had been spurred on by the bitter disappointment of Marseille last season.


O'Driscoll said that the disappointment of last season's defeat to La Rochelle had "fuelled" Leinster this season, before saying a rematch with the French team would "whet the appetite" among Leinster rugby spheres:

We were questioning the opposition coming to town [on Saturday]. In the past number of seasons, Leinster have managed to make their way into semi-finals with relative ease but when you're coming up against a European juggernaut like Toulouse, that immediately grabs the attention. We felt last year in this fixture, it wasn't the Toulouse team you'd expect because of the previous week's slog with Munster.

This time around, they can have no complaints - rested last week - but they came up against a Leinster juggernaut this year that really have eyes on the prize.

I think they're fuelling that disappointment from the loss in Marseille last year in the last moment against La Rochelle. With the possibility of that opposition coming back to town - that really whets the appetite.

Leinster v La Rochelle (and Ronan O'Gara) in a Champions Cup final rematch in Dublin? It's the stuff of dreams, and it could very well be reality on May 20.

SEE ALSO: Munster Rugby Prospect Sent Off As Cork U20s Pip Limerick In Munster Hurling Championship

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