Sean O’Brien is adamant Leinster can cope with the absence of Brian O’Driscoll, insisting he will stand up and be counted to fill the void left by the Ireland captain.
O’Driscoll is due to undergo shoulder surgery and will be out of action for six months, ensuring he will miss the 2012 RBS 6 Nations and the majority of Leinster’s RaboDirect PRO12 campaign.
On Saturday, holders Leinster begin the defence of the Heineken Cup in Montpellier – last year’s surprise Top 14 finalists – and O’Brien is only too aware of the role he must play in the south of France.
"It is a role I like," said O’Brien. "Brian is a big loss there, but it gives the younger lads a chance to step up to the mark.
“The likes of Fergus McFadden and Eoin O'Malley, they are both good at talking as well.
“We have enough experienced players there on the field, we've Leo Cullen there as well. Brian will be there anyway, he'll be off the field, he'll be chipping in with his say as well.
“It is not as if he has gone away for good or anything.”