De Luca Aims To Silence Leinster Attack

Nick De Luca has revealed his primary objective when Leinster visit Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup on Saturday (15 December, kick off 3.30pm) is to nullify the threat posed by the Irish Province's back division.

The 23-year-old has attracted fulsome praise for his enterprising start to the season and he also emerged from last Friday's 28-14 defeat by Leinster with his burgeoning reputation intact.

But the promising outside centre refuses to get carried away by the compliments and says keeping Brian O'driscoll and co quiet at Murrayfield would be the highlight of his campaign so far."

De Luca said: "I don't pay much attention to what people say or write about me, I"m just determined to improve my game and enjoy my rugby.

"Playing against Brian O'driscoll is a great challenge, but it is not just him we have to deal with " there is also Gordon D"Arcy just inside him and Shane Horgan outside him.

"Leinster have also got Felipe Contempomi, who pulls the strings at 10. They have got a very talented back line, so it is a challenge for our whole back line to try and subdue them.

"Unfortunately they managed to get three tries at the weekend, so the backs" goal this weekend is to achieve a clean sheet."

The switch to wearing the number 13 jersey has proved to be a lucky omen for the former Borders back and he admits he enjoys the dual role of being both finisher and playmaker.

He added: "For the first couple of weeks it was tough getting back in the groove. I have been up against Regan King, Andrew Trimble and now Brian O'driscoll; there is no better way to get back into the groove than by playing against some of the best players in Europe.

"I am starting to enjoy it a lot more now by playing my part in defence and hopefully I"ll be ale to sharpen up my attack and make more chances for my team-mates to finish off.

"I like being a creator. I have scored more tries than most in the Edinburgh team this year, but usually I like to make the breaks and put other boys away. So I"m glad I"m doing both roles."

De Luca credits Edinburgh head coach Andy Robinson and assistant Rob Moffat with the upsurge in his form and believes their advice has made a huge impact on his development.

He said: "A lot of things have come on this season. The coaching has been world-class and also we are testing ourselves against world-class players.

"You are told exactly what to do by the coaches; Andy (Robinson) and Rob (Moffat) don't miss a trick, so you are told to sort out little parts of your game which pays dividends."

After the high-profile clash on Saturday, De Luca is scheduled to return to Murrayfield on Monday for a training session with Scotland ahead of next year's RBS 6 Nations.

But rather than start daydreaming about the prospect of winning his first international cap, he admits he is just content to be a part of the national team's preparations.

He said: "I am just going to take it as it comes. It is a 44-man training squad and I"m just going to keep my head down and work hard. There are still plenty of good players out there and I"m just happy to be involved."