Connacht captain John Muldoon may be the only player remaining who travelled to Grenoble over 11 years ago to play in the 2004/05 Challenge Cup quarter final, but the man who will be most familiar with playing at the Stade des Alpes – opened in 2008 – is outhalf Shane O’Leary.

The Cork-born, Tipperary-raised 23-year-old signed for Connacht in the summer of 2014 having spent a season playing under Bernard Jackman at Grenoble where he played in five Challenge Cup games.

“The atmosphere over there in Stade des Alpes is always incredible”, he said during the week. “They have the bodhrans and their flags and everything. They are a really loud, really vocal.

“Grenoble are a strong team, they are real physical. I know they are when I played there, and they have got that bit of flair as well.

“Their No 10, Jonathan Wisniewski, is going really well at the moment as well. We will have our game-plan going over, we’ll fully expect to win if we can implement our game-plan.”

“I’m sure there’ll be a bit of banter, with the week that’s in it. They’ll be gunning for me, but I’ll be gunning for them too.”

O’Leary made his first full PRO12 debut at outhalf last week at Kingspan Stadium, kicking five points. With injuries to Jack Carty, AJ MacGinty and Craig Ronaldson, he is in line to earn another European start in Saturday’s quarter final.

“You never wish that anyone gets injured because you can be in the same position yourself, ” he said.

“But, if you’re handed an opportunity, you’ve got to grab it with two hands and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m doing all of my little extras, the boys are helping me out and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

The Connacht team to face Grenoble will be named on Friday at 12 noon.


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