McCarthy admits he's excited for the Champions Cup final this weekend

McCarthy admits he's excited for the Champions Cup final this weekend

Leinster's Joe McCarthy has admitted that he is excited to play in the Champions Cup final this weekend against Toulouse in London.

The Irish province is back in their third consecutive final but has lost the last two. They also come up against the side with the most European titles in Toulouse this weekend

A win for Leinster will mean that they tie the Top 14 side for European cups with five. There is a lot at stake for Leo Cullen's side. With the likes of Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, and others, the test is sure to be difficult.

McCarthy, one of the younger members of the Leinster squad, is fully aware of the talent the French side possesses.

“They’re probably the strongest club in world rugby, given everything they’ve won," McCarthy said.

"I think there’s an added focus during the week because you know how many threats they have across the board. You know it’s going to be a fast game. It’s going to be physical. If you switch off Dupont, one of their other players will catch you out if you’re knocking off at any stage.

"You just know you have to be on it for the whole 80 minutes. It definitely feels different. You hope it takes you to another level. Everything that you do during the week is going to matter in game week. You start out with a plan on Sunday about what you’re going to do and then kind of go with the flow and make sure you’re training very intently and not burning yourself out too much as well.

"That can definitely be a thing I struggle with—thinking about the game too much and almost getting fatigued by the time you get to the start of the game. You’re trying to get that balance right, train well, and give yourself confidence. But a lot of the work is already done before a final."

Joe McCarthy of Ireland is tackled by Charles Ollivon of France during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and Ireland at the Orange Velodrome on February 2, 2024, in Marseille, France. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

McCarthy's career really took off after his display against France in this year's Six Nations. The second-rower has now grown from strength to strength since then. It is expected that he will start this weekend when Cullen announces his side for the game later today

The Dubliner admits he feels lucky to be in the position he's found himself in.

"It’s good this season," he added. "I’ve been super involved; I played all the knockout games, so it definitely means a little bit more, playing the whole way through. Hopefully, I get selected to play but yeah, it feels good now that I’m here at this point.

"I feel very lucky to be in a final again because it's not easy to win those or get to that position again. Once we've lost that, you don't know how long it will be until you get another opportunity. So I feel very lucky to get another chance to go again."

Leinster plays Toulouse at 2:45 tomorrow. The game will be broadcast live on TNT Sports 1 and ITV4.