Leinster Rugby prop Andrew Porter has warned that the four-time European champions are fired up for the “huge challenge” that awaits them as they aim to make up lost ground in the Heineken Champioins Cup.

With only eight teams due to qualify for the knockout stage from each pool, the Irish province lie in seventh in Pool A ahead of Sunday’s tie with Montpellier Hérault Rugby at the RDS Arena.

“Our best performances is all that will do for the rest of the competition because the amount of competition in the Champions Cup is huge and we know what all the teams will bring,” he told the Irish Independent.

“It’s almost knockout rugby straightaway now, so, it’s a huge challenge that we’re all relishing and we’re all really looking forward to it. You definitely use it as motivation.”

Leinster haven’t played for a month, but the 25-year-old Ireland forward believes the high level of training at their UCD base will stand them in good stead on Sunday.

“Everyone has been saying training has been tougher,” he said. “There were no games on the weekend, so we’ve had the legs kind of run off us a bit during the last few weeks.

“But, if anything, it’s just prepared us even better, the way the coaches have been training us and the way everyone has bought into the teamwork ethic, more than anything.

“We’ve been working harder than we have been previously in the season when we had games. So, fitness-wise, we won’t have to worry about it too much because of the great staff we have and the set-up we have at Leinster. I think we’ll be in a really good place in that sense.”

Although fitness won’t be an issue this weekend, Porter admits that Leinster aren’t as finely tuned as they normally are at this stage of the season.

“It’s tough,” he commented. “It’s mid-season when you’re trying to build momentum, especially coming into European games.

“Using those games over Christmas helps you build a good bit of momentum coming into that second string of European matches.

“We’ve been training away and sharpening our axe; we haven’t just been sitting back and thinking about the games that have gone by or that we haven’t played. We’ve been preparing really well.

“We’re in a really good place. We’re obviously frustrated in here, but there’s so much to focus on and to refocus our attention to. We have a huge game this week and then another huge one the week after.”