Leinster eyeing must-win game
December 8, 2009
Michael Cheika will do his homework on the Scarlets © Getty Images
Leinster coach Michael Cheika has a no-nonsense assessment of his side's Heineken Cup showdown with the Scarlets on Saturday - it's a must-win.
The Welsh region top Pool 2 following victories over Brive and London Irish in the previous rounds of action, but both Leinster and the Exiles are hot on their heels. The reigning champions lost to Irish in the opening round before seeing off Brive and their losing bonus-point has kept them in touch.
Both sides tasted domestic defeat at the weekend, with Leinster slumping to defeat against the Dragons and the Scarlets narrowly losing out to Edinburgh.
"December and January are when you really make your pitch for the rest of the season - and for us that starts on 12 December," Cheika told ERC. "The Scarlets are the leaders of the group and that puts them in a commanding position while having the home leg of the back-to-back games against us first is a massive benefit to them.
"We are at the stage of the tournament where you stare at the opposition and make sure you don't blink first - this group looks as if it will be going down to the wire.
"All the Pool 6 matches are massive for all four of us and, as far as I am concerned, the only thing that matters is that on Saturday we perform at a level to get the win at the Scarlets."
Cheika will be reading up on their opponents ahead of the game and has his eye on their nerve-centre, No.8 David Lyons, scrum-half Martin Roberts and fly-half Stephen Jones.
"Obviously the Scarlets are a highly efficient attacking outfit, with a very good axis at eight, nine and 10, and lots of pace out wide and not scared to have a go - they are a high scoring attacking team and we will do some homework on them," he said. "We are in a situation where we are missing a few guys but also pretty happy with the way we have developed."
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