AS IF TWO European titans going head-to-head in a high-stakes showdown wasn’t intriguing enough, the prospect of Jordan Larmour and Cheslin Kolbe taking to the same pitch is another exciting subplot to Saturday’s Pool 1 clash.
Similar in playing style and stature, the pair are two of the most dangerous and exciting young players in world rugby and have the ability to tear up opposition defences in a flash.
Larmour is excited to play in front of a sold-out RDS. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
Larmour, nominated for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year award for his outstanding debut season, is expected to start for Leinster on the right wing, while Kolbe will again line out in the Toulouse back three at the RDS.
Springbok Kolbe is part of an arsenal of attacking talent in a lethal Toulouse backline, and is one of the key dangermen Leinster will have marked in advance of the pivotal meeting of the two four-time European winners.
It promises to be just one of many fascinating match-ups across the park, as defending champions Leinster bid to avenge their defeat to the Top 14 side last October and regain control of the pool heading into the final round of action.
Kolbe — small in stature and lightning quick — has been part of Toulouse’s impressive resurgence with the French heavyweights regaining the swagger and conviction they played with during their glory days, as they travel to Dublin on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run.
Click Here: custom rapid prototyping service
Leinster are understandably wary of the threat he, and the likes of Maxime Medard, will pose on Saturday lunchtime, but Stuart Lancaster is as excited as any to see Kolbe and Larmour go head-to-head again.
“Where do you want to start?” the Leinster senior coach laughed when asked about the 25-year-old’s threats.
“I mean I’ve seen him run around people, dodge around people and then I saw him score another try where he actually ran through the 10, just ran over him. I mean you think he doesn’t look huge but he ran through the middle of a ruck the other day, and yeah he’s got incredible feet.
“You’d pay money to see Jordan Larmour and Kolbe on the same field, wouldn’t you?”
Larmour, meanwhile, is relishing the chance to come up against the South African again.
“I suppose we’re slightly similar in some aspects, yeah, but also there’s some differences as well,” the Ireland international says.
“He is pretty good off both feet, he is quick. If there is a small gap he will go through it. He seems to embarrass defenders so you know it is going to be tough to stop when he gets going or gets in a bit of space so we are going to have to all be switched on.
“But I think across their whole team, the whole backline, there are threats all over the park so we have to stay switched on.
“When we played the last time over there, he [Kolbe] went through us off a scrum so, yeah, you know it is going to be all hands on deck when he has the ball.”
Kolbe is one of the most dangerous players in world rugby. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Larmour, who started at fullback against Munster during the Christmas period before being rested for the inter-pro win over Ulster last weekend, is due to return to the Leinster starting XV in the number 14 jersey, with Rob Kearney primed to start at fullback.