Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Nacewa eyes half-back battle

Isa Nacewa
Isa Nacewa

Isa Nacewa has challenged Leinster to follow Ireland's example and close down influential half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs in their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leicester on Saturday.

Flood and Youngs will return to Dublin's Aviva Stadium just three weeks after England suffered a Grand Slam-ending RBS 6 Nations defeat at Irish hands. Although Flood and Youngs finished the game as part of a Six Nations title-winning team, the clean sweep eluded them in no small way due to an impressive showing by Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan.

The quartet are set to be reunited this weekend, and Leinster's Fijian full-back Nacewa, said: "The Leicester half-backs are their dangermen, and we will need to keep a close eye on them on Saturday. There are some exciting match-ups right across the field, and that is, without any sort of doubt, the case at half-back."

He added: "Ireland were fantastic against England in the Six Nations, and I am sure the battle at nine and 10 will be the same once again.

"Hopefully, our guys will have it in the back of their mind what they managed to do against England and replicate that against Leicester."

Leinster and Leicester meet for the 11th time in Heineken Cup combat - they currently have five wins each - and Nacewa added: "We know all know about Leicester - they have a great history in the tournament.

"They are top of the English Premiership and have experience throughout the team.

"They have a big set of forwards - probably one of the best packs around - so we know it is going to be a formidable challenge."

Leinster or Leicester will have home country advantage in the semi-finals against Biarritz or Toulouse, who meet in San Sebastian on Sunday, with Northampton or Ulster hosting Perpignan or Toulon.

Saints face Ulster in Milton Keynes on Sunday, while Barcelona's 55,000-capacity Olympic Stadium will see Jonny Wilkinson and Toulon aiming to march on in Europe at Perpignan's expense on Saturday.

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