Shaun Berne insists he is ready to step into the boots of Leinster outside half Johnny Sexton if required in the Heineken Cup semi-finals
The 31-year-old Australian already has experience of playing in European semi-finals and finals with his previous club, Bath.
And with Ireland outside half Sexton rated at only 50-50 to recover in time for the last four clash in Toulouse on 1 May, following an operation on his broken jaw, Berne is ready to plug the gap at No 10.
Berne joined the Dublin outfit from Bath last summer and has played at outside half and centre for the Magners League leaders and Heineken Cup holders this season.
Leinster have two vital league games before their semi-final assignment in France and Berne will should get plenty of practice against the Ospreys on Frdiay night and Glasgow Warriors the following weekend.
"Injuries are part of the game. I can't play the game like Jonny Sexton - he plays the way he plays - but I can try to fit into the Leinster team and play like Shaun Berne, try to bring my strengths to the team," he said.
"We're all hopeful Johnny can come back before the end of the season, but it's all up in the air at the moment. A few other guys have knocks, but any team at this stage of the season will have injuries.
"Being a bit older, I'd like to think I can bring that experience to the table and control the team as much as possible. It's not just my job, it's a 15-man game.
"There's not too much weight on my shoulders. It's just a matter of fitting in with the team and not upsetting the rhythm too much.
"I'm not afraid to step up and kick goals. I've done it for other teams I've played for and I did it at the start of the year.
"It probably wasn't as high a standard as I'd like but, going forward, I'm happy to do that role if I'm required to."
Berne won an Amlin Challenge Cup medal with Bath in 2008, appearing as a replacement in both the semi-final and final, and was at No 10 for the semi-final victory over Sale Sharks and then the final defeat by ASM Clermont Auvergne the previous year.
He also came on as a replacement for Bath in their Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat at Leicester last year.
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