Thursday 17 October 2019

'I am delivering bad news on a weekly basis' – Leo Cullen hails Leinster's squad depth

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 5 match between Leinster and Toulouse at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 5 match between Leinster and Toulouse at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leo Cullen hailed the depth of his squad as a depleted Leinster side ruthlessly put Toulouse to the sword this afternoon.

The defending champions took control of Pool 1 before they take on Wasps next Sunday with their sights firmly set on securing a home quarter-final.

Luke McGrath's knee injury remains a major concern however. The scrum-half suffered what looked like a serious injury and he will now be further assessed to determine the extent of the damage.

Cullen was forced into making wholesale changes prior to kick-off, particularly in the back-line, where Ross Byrne and Garry Ringrose expertly ran the show.

“A lot of guys have been fighting hard to get in the team and have been unlucky at various stages during the year with some of the selections and that is the way it is, the way we want it; it’s not something we just say,” a delighted Cullen said after his side's 29-13 bonus point win at the RDS.

“It’s the reality. I am delivering bad news to people on a weekly basis. They just have to be able to deal with it, try and improve, get the feedback, get better and wait for the next opportunity. That’s the cycle that they are in.

“We want guys to go in, play well, ultimately they pick the team, we just fill in the names on the team-sheet with the actions that they produce that we see on the field and every day that we train as well. It’s a good competitive group.

“They all want to be involved, they know what is at stake. There are big games coming up whether with Leinster or Ireland and they all want to go on and represent not just Leinster but Ireland as well.

International Rugby Newsletter

Rugby insights and commentary from our renowned journalists like Neil Francis, Will Slattery, Alan Quinlan & Cian Tracey.

“It was a good step to day for a lot of them. Next week is a completely different challenge.

"We will have to turn our attention to Wasps quite quickly and try and prepare as well as we can.

“It is a slightly longer week. We still have a lot of work to do to try and win this pool, our pool. It’s quite simple in many ways just go over to Wasps and win the game.

“We know it is a tough place to go. They won’t give it up easy so we need to make sure we are clear that we know how to manage the environment over there.”

The focus now turns to Wasps, who have been poor throughout the European campaign. Cullen however, is not taking anything for granted ahead of the trip to Coventry.

“You have to turn the page quite quickly,” the head coach added.

“It is the next challenge. We are at the top of the pool but we still have a big job to do next week. We will see how guys come through.

“Some who missed out today on tight calls, some who ran out of time in terms of their injuries, others getting close to coming into consideration, others who picked up bangs, we will make all those assessments. We will start the week a little later.

“We already have made a plan about Wasps threats. We had a tough day over there a few years ago.

“We understand fully how tough a challenge it will be. Listening to Dai Young talking about the mindset they are going to adopt this week, they are going to be a tough challenge for us.”

Online Editors

The Left Wing: Welcome to Irish rugby's biggest week - is an upset on the cards?

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport