Ahead of the first of two back-to-back Champions Cup games this weekend Mike Ross spoke about the squad feeling fresh after the Glasgow postponement and Toulon threats.

After two defeats in the opening rounds of Europe, Leinster returned to Guinness PRO12 action with an ideal pair of games to build up to the back-to-back fixtures with Toulon.

First up, an interpro derby at the RDS Arena against an Ulster team also looking to bounce back from the sting of European defeat, and then a trip to Scotstoun, the home of the reigning Guinness PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors.

The Ulster game got Leinster back to winning ways, with an eight-day turnaround to Glasgow providing time to prepare for the next big test.

Unfortunately, Storm Desmond had other ideas and the game was postponed, but Mike Ross prefers to look on the positive side of the postponement saying the squad may be better for the rest.

“The boys were looking forward to having a game against Glasgow to give us some good preparation for Toulon, but ultimately the weather didn’t allow for it,” the tighthead prop told the media in Leinster HQ this week.

“If you take the positive, we’ll probably be a bit fresher going into this week, so hopefully that’ll help. We’ll be training hard for certain. The boys got a good blow out on Sunday because they missed the match, so the fitness should be there.”

Mike Ross

Ross last featured for Leinster in the 19-16 defeat to Bath at the Recreation Ground and says since that game the scrum has been a key focus for the forwards.

After an improved performance against Ulster, Toulon’s front eight pose the next challenge.

“They’ve a very heavy pack. You look at their second rows, they average about 125kg each. The back row is about the same. The scrum is something we’ve worked fairly hard on, especially since the Bath game. Hopefully we’ll show them something they haven’t seen.”

While Ross is looking to present Toulon with a couple of surprises, the French side will be very familiar to supporters with many of their players featuring prominently at the World Cup.

“They’re a bit like the Harlem Globetrotters of rugby; they’ve so many quality players throughout their team. If you look at the players they’ve added this year like Samu Manoa and Ma’a Nonu, they’re not short of two or three international quality players in every position. It’s a tough ask but we pushed them hard last year and I think we’ll be relying on our collective to bring us through.”

Leinster face Toulon in Aviva Stadium on 19th December. Ticket sales for the game have passed the 40,000 mark. Purchase your tickets.

Leinster v Toulon