Leinster Rugby back-row forward Caelan Doris is anticipating a revitalised Gloucester Rugby when the Irish province head to Kingsholm Stadium in Round 3 of the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday.
Four-time champions Leinster thrashed the Gallagher Premiership outfit’s inexperienced side 57-0 in Dublin last month and come into the Round 3 contest as the Pool A leaders.
However, Doris is conscious that Gloucester will have a series of big hitters back this weekend – particularly in the back row – and could be a potential stumbling block in their bid to avenge last season’s defeat to Stade Rochelais in the final.
“Our north star is getting a trophy, which we didn’t do last year in either competition, so there is still quite a bit of hurt from that and that’s a big driver for us,” Doris said.
“But also, it’s going to be a different [Gloucester] team; it’s away from home; it’s a completely different challenge.
“It’s a blank slate in a way, so we probably haven’t even reviewed the last game too much because it’s going to be very different.
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“All those factors come into it, so I think it’s going to be a much tougher challenge. Looking at their back-row in particular, they’ve so much depth and quality.
“[Ruan] Ackermann, Ben Morgan, [Albert] Tuisue, Jordy Reid – a lot of quality. It’s an exciting one for us as a back row.”
Doris also revealed that the Leinster coaching staff have been showing the players footage of their gut-wrenching defeat to La Rochelle in last year’s showpiece game, which is providing added motivation as well as tactical insight.
“It still hurts seeing them,” he admitted. “There is quite a vivid memory of the dressing room after and how bleak and silent it was, and not wanting to experience that again.
“Mainly set-piece [clips] we saw [on Monday], but there’s been different ones in the past.
“Usually, it would be a certain clip, if there’s a valid point in the clip that keeps coming up rather than just the game as a whole. This game has come up a few times.
“It probably shows how we have evolved or where we can still evolve. It’s also a reminder of what happened last season.”