With the teams for the Champions Cup Semi-Final announced, and the game just two days away, Jimmy Gopperth has spoken about the importance of the players executing their game plan accurately and putting in an 80-minute performance.

Gopperth will start at out-half for Leinster in this weekend’s game in a XV that is unchanged from the quarter-final win over Bath at AVIVA Stadium two weeks ago.

Six penalties from Ian Madigan sealed the win for Leinster that day to set up the meeting with Toulon at the Stade Vélodrome.

Gopperth acknowledges that the province’s league form has been disappointing this season but says that plenty of hard work has gone into earning a place among the last four in Europe.  

“We haven’t had the greatest form throughout the Guinness PRO12 this year. But we’ve got to come together as a group and work hard. We didn’t get here just by chance. We have worked hard and we’re in the last four of Europe. We’ve given ourselves an opportunity and it’s an opportunity we need to take with both hands.” 

jimmy gopperth

Standing in Leinster’s way will be the back-to-back European champions, looking to set up a shot at a third title in Twickenham in two week’s time.

“We all know Toulon; they’re probably the most admired club team in the world. The pedigree of their internationals speaks for itself. You could probably pick two fifteens and they’re just as strong as each other. We know we’re up against it. They’re going to be favourites. But we’re going to go down there and give it our best shot. We’re going to leave everything out there on the field and give an 80 minute performance that we can be proud of.

“We’ve just got to worry about what we want to do. We’ve got a plan in place that we need to take down there and it’s about executing it. Because if you don’t execute well, you miss one on one tackles, then you’re going to be chasing red shirts all day.

“Credit to Matt and all the coaches, the game plans all year have been fantastic. I think he’s one of the most intelligent coaches around; coming up with different plans and exploiting different opportunities. But the coaches don’t play the game. It’s up to the players. It’s up to us out on the field to implement those game plans and execute on what we want to do. We’ve got to go out there and make sure we’re the best we can be.”