South African wing Dillyn Leyds is gearing up for what promises to be another thrilling duel between La Rochelle and Leinster in the Champions Cup final on Saturday.
With La Rochelle’s exceptional season in the French Top 14 and Irish giants Leinster’s determination for redemption, the repeat of last season’s showpiece is set to be a blockbuster in Dublin.
This will be La Rochelle’s third consecutive appearance in the prestigious final. Last year, Leyds played a pivotal role in the French club’s maiden European crown, delivering a Man of the Match performance in a 24-21 victory.
Speaking about his 2022 heroics and desire to help lead his team to another triumph, the 10-Test-cap Springbok told RTE: “Once I managed to get my hands on the ball quite early and get a good number of touches, it gave me a bit of confidence to do that throughout the match.
“It was a good day for me but I also think it was a good day for the team. Hopefully, from this weekend the same thing can happen, as a collective take the initiative and play a bit more rugby even though it is a final.”
La Rochelle enters the final at Aviva Stadium with tremendous momentum, having secured a Top 14 semi-final clash after defeating defending champions Montpellier.
However, Leyds remains cautious of a wounded Leinster side following a shock Vodacom United Rugby Championship defeat to Munster last week.
Acknowledging Leinster’s quality and resilience, he added: “They are a bunch of quality international players who know how to react after a loss like that. Like any team when you get beaten at home, especially in a knockout game, you take a bit of a hit.
“You want to come back firing shots early. You want to show maybe it was just a tough day as a team.
“We had similar situations this season in the Top 14 where we lost at home and the week leading up to the next game is all about training a bit of pride. They are a bunch of quality international players who know how to react after a loss like that.
“[But] we don’t want to go into our shells. We want to play the way we have been playing throughout the season.”
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