Monday 11 December 2017

Cullen has high hopes for brave Joey

Leo Cullen was impressed by Blues’ composure. Photo: Sportsfile
Leo Cullen was impressed by Blues’ composure. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Leinster coach Leo Cullen hailed his side's composure as they booked a return to a Champions Cup semi-final for the first time in two years, where they will play either Clermont or Toulon, and praised the impact of 21-year-old full-back Joey Carbery.

"We didn't respect the ball at times but we showed good composure at the end there and managed to create a good couple of scores," said Cullen. "We're delighted to be in a semi-final.

"It will be an exciting challenge but very tough. We've lost a couple there against Toulouse and Toulon, but won one against Clermont too. The margins are tight.

"We were a bit exposed a couple of times but that is the risk you take. We want players to express themselves in front of 50,000 people who have paid money to be here.

"There is a risk but we will get better with more time. There are definitely areas we can improve upon, we misfired in the lineout a couple of times.

"Joey is brave, very brave. We'll go through the game with him, he is hungry to learn and eager to get better. It was a good performance, I'm delighted.

"He's 21, it has all come very quickly for him. He stays grounded and hopefully he will have a big part to play.

"Having him as a second receiver certainly takes some of the pressure off Jonathan Sexton."

Wasps boss David Young admitted that his side's chances were undermined by their first-half concession of cheap tries as Leinster compiled a virtually unassailable 22-3 half-time lead, despite mounting a stirring comeback midway through the second-half.

"The damage was done in the first-half," said Young. "We gave ourselves a mountain to climb and it is difficult enough coming to Dublin to play a top quality side without doing that.

"We didn't do ourselves justice, especially in the first-half. Leinster made a lot less mistakes. We couldn't get to three or four phases. We looked like a rabbit in the headlights."

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