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Fine tuning for final shot at glory

Guinness PRO12 Editor

29 May 2010

Team preparations for this evening’s first-ever Magners League Grand Final have been focused on fine tuning – that’s according to the captains of both Leinster and the Ospreys.

With 19 Magners League games and at least seven European ties already behind them, the two sides are nearing the end of a thrilling but grueling season.

And with that in mind, both sets of coaching staff have chosen not to flog their players in the lead up to tonight’s showpiece.

Instead, the aim of the two weeks since the Play-Off semi-finals has been to boost rest, recovery, recuperation and work on the little things that could make a big difference come 6.30 this evening.

“We’ve been trying to get the balance right between getting over bumps and knocks and then preparing well,” said Leinster skipper Shane Jennings, who leads the Dubliners in the absence of the injured Leo Cullen.

“Hopefully we’ve got that balance right. We had a light enough week last week with a few days off.

“We started training from Friday onwards and we’ve pretty much done as much as we can. We’re just keen to get on the pitch and get playing.

“The Ospreys are a fantastic team and they’ve got threats all over the pitch. We’ve got to get ready for that.

“We feel we’ve prepared well for it and now we just want to get on with the game. It’s been a long week off so I think both teams are just raring to go.”

Those sentiments are shared by Jennings’ opposite number at the Ospreys, Ryan Jones.

The Wales captain has plenty of experience of preparing for big games with his region, his country and with the British & Irish Lions and he knows that it’s now about putting the finishing touches to the hard work that’s already in the bank.

“It was a bit of a funny week last week with no game so, like the Leinster lads, we had a few days off,” added Jones, who starts alongside former All Blacks Jerry Collins and Marty Holah in the Ospreys back row at the RDS.

“It’s the end of a long season so there’s nothing new to learn. It’s just about tinkering with a few things and getting up for this weekend both mentally and physically.

“We’ve had a great week’s prep and we’re just looking forward to getting out there now in front of a big crowd and enjoying the occasion.”