Monday 16 January 2017

Cullen ready to peak again in Thomond cauldron

Published 26/05/2011 | 05:00

The big days keep on coming in the life of Leo Cullen, but you wouldn't know it to look at him.

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The Leinster captain was his usual relaxed self yesterday, despite last Saturday's dramatic Heineken Cup final, the prospect of doing the double this weekend and then getting married a week later.

It's no wonder the World Cup seems a long way away.

Sports stars rarely say they are looking beyond the next game, but Cullen's fiance Darina Kennedy might be demanding a little bit of his focus as the off-field big day approaches. He says he has a "couple of jobs" to do.

Munster and a historic European and Magners League double is his priority right now though, and Cullen is one of the few players in the squad -- alongside Shane Jennings -- to have been in a similar position before when he was playing with Leicester in 2007 and failed to complete the job.

"It was the other way around, we played the Premiership final first and won pretty easily against Gloucester," he recalled.

"It was funny because we got the bus back from Twickenham to Leicester and it was real low-key to be honest; we didn't really celebrate, the focus was already on the following week."

While the freshest memory will be last Saturday's incredible second-half performance, Leinster will be mindful that their last visit to Thomond Park ended with them being bullied across the park after leading comfortably at the break.

"They got stronger and stronger as the game went on. We got bullied in the contact areas and that's something we will look at for this weekend. They have a lot of mental strength. Munster will be a team who, if they had a 16-point lead, it is very hard to see how they would have lost. That's the challenge."

Irish Independent

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