Cullen: We must stay in control

Des Berry

Recent author Leo Cullen wants Leinster to write their own future by keeping control of Pool Three in the Heineken Cup with a coveted away-and-home double over at Bath, starting at the Recreation Ground tomorrow lunchtime.

"You need to get the edge over the two games. We want to get as much as we can out of this game, dust ourselves off and go again. It is a short turnaround," he said.

In previous seasons, Leinster have suffered in the quick-fire, back-to-back stress of rounds three and four, falling away badly to Castres in 2008 and Edinburgh in 2007 in what Cullen describes as "dark days".

The development of a deeper squad and genuine competition for places has made this less likely. Coach Joe Schmidt is not afraid to spread the burden of pressure.

For instance, Heinke van der Merwe will start ahead of Cian Healy; Fergus McFadden ahead of Eoin O'Malley. This sends a signal of trust to all the players.

"We are blessed to have two unbelievably good loosehead props. With the front-row sometimes, Cian gives real dynamism coming off the bench. He is a really strong carrier for us," admitted Cullen.

"Eoin has gone really well for us. Hopefully, he will feature later in the game."

In mathematical terms, the minimum requirement is a losing bonus-point. In real terms, the minimum motivation is for four points against a club struggling near the foot of the Premiership.