Leinster are ready to challenge Europe's elite in Champions Cup, says coach Leo Cullen
By Alex Marrow
Last Updated: 14/10/17 1:47pm
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen is looking forward to some "proper cup knockout rugby" as his side begin their Champions Cup campaign against Montpellier on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.
The additions of Louis Picamoles, Ruan Pienaar and Aaron Cruden at No 8, No 9 and No 10 have given Montpellier a lot more firepower, but a thigh injury has ruled fly-half Cruden out of Saturday's game.
Leinster's renewed ambition and Montpellier's new signings make this one of the standout games in the opening set of Champions Cup fixtures.
Cullen told Leinster Rugby: "We want to get back to the stage where we're the best team in Europe.
"It's proper cup knockout rugby as well. You know the pools, there's not much margin for error so it means that every game is full on.
"We would like to think we have the potential and the ability to challenge some of the best teams out there and that's where we want to be."
The two sides met in the pool stage last year, Leinster winning 57-3 at home and sealing a losing bonus point in France, but Montpellier pose a more challenging threat this season.
But the French side will be forced to reshuffle their back line as former All Black fly-half Cruden is sidelined with a thigh injury sustained in training on Thursday.
Leinster will be hoping to continue their good start to the season, following five wins from six in the Pro 14.
Meanwhile, Montpellier succumbed to their second league defeat of the season against Stade Francais last Saturday, but sit third in the Top 14 and are the leading points-scorers with 32 tries.
Leinster have injury problems of their own, as both Johnny Sexton and Sean O'Brien will miss the game.