After seeing his side to a vital 36-10 victory over Racing 92 that secured top-seeded Leinster’s place in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup, Leo Cullen was not going to back away.
Einster was not at his fluid best this afternoon at the Aviva Stadium, yet he managed to come away with a bonus point victory that kept his remarkable unbeaten season going.
Racing asked Cullen’s men plenty of questions, while uncovering some old weaknesses around the maul and scrum along the way.
With this in mind, it was no surprise that Cullen was keen to ensure that no one was deluded, as Leinster looked forward to no longer playing outside Dublin, as they expected That fifth star will win.
“You’ve got to be very honored, it certainly didn’t feel like a 26-point win,” Cullen said.
“We had a few opportunities early on, just snatching things, wasn’t accurate enough, a little slow in some of our arrivals. Racing, to their credit, were very brave defensively.
“You see how aggressive they are with chop tackles, getting guys on the ground quickly, so they have players on the ball early. They come up with some big turnovers at different stages, and also they’re a There is also a constant danger.
“The pace they’ve got, some of the ball players they’ve got, you just can’t switch off for a second.
“The second half they started early, and it’s a bloody tight game, but credit goes to our guys, I thought the composure was good, and we’re going to stick to the basics, start doing a little better and recycle Do and start roaming.” And eventually we start wearing them.
“It took a long time. They stuck to the job well, and sometimes that’s the way the game goes. Sometimes for whatever reason you’re not quite at it, you potentially miss some chances.” But it just takes being patient, and sticking to the type of game we want to play, and reaping the rewards in the end.
Leinster played with a brisk pace early on, and although it was not visible on the scoreboard, they wore racing down, as the French side were on their feet in the final quarter, when Leinster did most of the damage.
“It’s a fine line, you don’t want to get yourself in trouble, we were definitely a bit off,” Cullen admitted.
“It’s a good reminder for us, looking back on this game – I’m talking about the next game in the Champions Cup in 10 weeks’ time – that you can look back ‘let’s remember, start the game’ , how do we get involved in sports etc.
“If you find yourself in a hole, credit goes to the players, they managed to get themselves out of it and finished the game strongly which is good. Again, the bench made a good impression.”
Kellen Dorries and Josh van der Flier were replaced in the back rows in the second row, before linking up with the Ireland squad for the upcoming Six Nations, but Cullen allayed any fears about his fitness.
Leinster head coach Callan said, “It was just his ankle, but very minor.”
“He was going well. We were keen to get Ryan (Baird) on board so that could solidify that decision.
“Josh’s leg was a bit dead but very minor, we were keen to get Scott (Penny) on anyway. It was great for him to make his debut in the Champions Cup. So nothing that big that I can see anyway.