What odds on Leinster for next season s Heineken Cup asked Tony Ward in last week s Independent, a sentiment echoed in varying degrees by other commentators.
And the reason for the optimism.
New players ? Easy Pool ? New player registrar ? New coach ? No.
Not so much a new coach as Declan Kidney being appointed the Leinster coach. You see, after they shafted Gary Ella Leinster could have appointed any coach and probably have ended up with much the same mix.
But the appointment of Kidney even if by default will in time prove the master stroke. How Leinster didn t move heaven an earth to get him when they were clearly dissatisfied with Ella still remains a mystery. They waited until he had actually committed himself to Gwent Dragons before making their move.
They were lucky it was Tony Brown they were dealing with. Brown is essentially a gentleman and he dealt with Kidney in the manner that Kidney himself would have done if the situation were reversed. It can t have been easy for Kidney to be asked to be excused from the class.
He is an honourable man. An honest man. If Brown had not shown willing, Kidney would today, be working towards preparing the Dragons for an assault on the Heineken Cup.
And Leinster would have looked even more bumbling than heretofore. But all s well that ends well and Tony Ward is correct.
Leinster will be contenders real live contenders next season - Kidney will see to that.