Dirksen excited to take on "world class" Leinster
17:40, 25 May 2012
Twenty-one-year-old Ospreys winger Hanno Dirksen is relishing the challenge of locking horns with European champions Leinster in Sunday's RaboDirect PRO12 final at the RDS (4pm).
Most of Dirksen's appearances this season came as a replacement but injuries to Tommy Bowe and Nikki Walker opened up a position in Steve Handy's starting XV and Dirksen has grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
The South African has notched six tries in the league in 2012 including scores in the Ospreys last two league outings against Aironi and Munster and he hopes to continue that run on Sunday.
"It's been an amazing year for me," Dirksen said.
"In the past seven weeks or so, I've had the opportunity to start every game and it's been amazing to get wins out of all those hard games we had.
"It's very exciting to be in a final."
Having claimed back-to-back Heineken Cups, Leinster have cemented their status as the best team in Europe and Dirksen knows it will take a mammoth effort to win in Dublin.
But the winger isn't prepared to dwell on the occasion, preferring to treat the game as just another 80 minutes.
"They have won the European Cup three times in four years now and that's an incredible achievement for them.
"They're all world-class players and that's the main goal for me. You have to play the best to become the best.
"The final is just another game - I try not to think about it as this massive thing in front of you, like the semi-final was just another game.
"I'll just try and put in a good performance."
Leinster may be odds on to become only the fifth side to clinch a league and European cup double but the Ospreys pose a serious threat.
The Welsh outfit have won their last six PRO12 encounters as well as two friendly games and they laid down a marker in the semi-final with a 45-10 hammering of defending champions Munster.
Dirksen understands the scale of the task facing his side but he believes if they can reproduce the performance they put in against Tony McGahan's men they have a chance of causing an upset.
"We've got to go there with the same mindset that we've had for the past seven games and play like we did against Munster.
"Our defence was incredible, but their defence was amazing last weekend [against Ulster] as well so you have to give them credit.
"In the Munster game, the pack laid the platform, but it needed a cutting edge to get ahead and certainly to score the number of points that we did. It was quite a nice blend.
"They will obviously want to win another trophy and you have to take your hat off to them for being in two finals.
"We've just got to give our all, stick together as a team and it will be a good game."