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Ireland's main British & Irish Lions contenders will have another opportunity to impress Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward when Leinster take on Leicester in the European Cup on Saturday. [more]

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Ireland’s main British & Irish Lions contenders will have another opportunity to impress Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward when Leinster take on Leicester in the European Cup on Saturday.

The back division of Geordan Murphy, Brian O’Driscoll and Denis Hickie will all be in action, albeit on opposing sides, while Gordon D’Arcy and Shane Horgan may yet be fit enough to make a mark.

Leicester scraped into the quarter-finals as the second best qualifiers after edging out defending champions Wasps in a their pool, which was eventually topped by Biarritz.

Leinster, meanwhile, reached the quarter-finals in style as the only unbeaten side in the competition but feel they have received precious little reward for being top seeds.

"Leicester are one of toughest teams in Europe and by getting the number one slot you would have thought we might have got someone slightly easier," Leinster skipper Reggie Corrigan said wryly.

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"They are a real superpower and a fantastic team who are well and truly on the way back up.

"They have been rebuilding for the last couple of seasons after winning those two finals in 2001 and 2002 but now they are right back up there at the top.

"It is going to be a very difficult match for us, even playing at Lansdowne Road."

Leicester have proven occasionally fallible this season, as defeat to Leeds in the Zurich Premiership at the weekend indicated.

But resident Irishman Murphy insisted there is no sense of panic in the camp.

"If we had done well against Leeds everyone would’ve said: ‘Right, no worries, we’re all set’. But we know what we have to do and how to do it."

The Irish fans at Lansdowne Road, who only a fortnight ago were cheering for Murphy, will be jeering the 26-year-old this weekend when he runs out in the green of Leicester.

"This time Geordan will be against us rather than for us as he was in the Six Nations. Everyone knows he is a fantastic player and Leicester have those sort of players right across their team," said Corrigan.

Murphy teamed up with Brian O’Driscoll for the try which clinched victory for Ireland against England – but on Saturday they will be on opposite sides.

"The shoe’s on the other foot now. I know they’ll be looking to attack us up front and take us on, but at the same time I think our backs also have a point to prove against their star-studded backline," said Murphy.

"It looks like Gordon D’Arcy will play. They’ve got a strong backline and if they can field D’Arcy and O’Driscoll at centre, Shane Horgan and Denis Hickie on the wing we’ll have our hands full. We can’t give them any space."

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