For Jamie Heaslip, it doesn’t get any better than European games in the RDS, and the long wait for kick-off against Wasps is almost over.

Speaking at the launch of the European Rugby Champions Cup in the Convention Centre, Dublin, Heaslip spoke about the excitement of playing in Europe and the challenge of facing the best teams in the continent. 

“Everyone gets excited about playing in Europe – it’s a pretty special thing. We were talking at the launch that there’s no ‘group of death’ it’s more like ‘groups of death’. As an individual, as a team, you want to go up against other really good teams.”

Leinster’s first match in one of those five ‘groups of death’ sees them face Wasps, a team that they last met in the quarter-final of the Amlin Challenge Cup back in April 2013. Tonight, both teams will field very different XVs from that evening in Adams Park, and after a week of preparation and analysis Heaslip knows what to expect from a Wasps team that sit in 5th place in the Aviva Premiership. 

“There’s a reason they’re in Europe; they’ve got a good team. In the forwards they’ve got some really big ball-carriers that give them a lot of momentum into the game. It’s going to be a big challenge for us to shut down that part of their game, as well as their ability to strike with the speed that they have in their back-line. We’re going to have to adapt our game plan for the team that we’re going up against and respect the way they’re playing and the players they have.

“I think for us, defensively, we’ve just got to win that battle at the gain line. Rugby’s a very, very simple game; when you have the ball, get over the gain line, and when you don’t you’ve got to stop them getting over the gain line. They’ve got some big ball-carriers that we’re going to have to shut down. With the kicking ability that they have we’ve got to be clever around the park.”

This evening’s match will be Leinster’s first at home since the defeat against Munster in the Aviva and the disappointment of that day still lingers.

“It’s never nice losing to Munster – I absolutely hate it to be honest. It’s only the fifth game into the season, you can’t get too carried away – you’ve got to wear it though. I feel we’re more disappointed that we didn’t play to the standard that we can.”

Since the defeat to Munster, Leinster have travelled to Parma and picked up four points against Zebre. Next is the return to the RDS for the first time since the end of September, and Heaslip is very much looking forward to be cheered on by the supporters he affectionately calls the ‘Leinster Lunatics’. 

“The support and loyalty at home is…I think it’s an experience to get down to the RDS for a Champions Cup game.”

Leinster face Wasps today in the European Rugby Champions Cup at 5.15pm in the RDS. Click here to purchase tickets. Tickets can also be purchased from the RDS box office from 1pm. 

For more from Jamie Heaslip, watch the latest episode of Across the Laighin on Leinster TV.