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Leo Cullen wary of Treviso threat as Leinster prepare for crunch European tie

9 April 2018; Head coach Leo Cullen during Leinster Rugby squad training at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
9 April 2018; Head coach Leo Cullen during Leinster Rugby squad training at Energia Park in Donnybrook, Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Max Ryan

LEINSTER head coach Leo Cullen believes his squad is in a positive frame of mind ahead of the province’s Champions Cup semi-final clash with Scarlets on April 21st.

Speaking at the launch the '5k Rock Run', an initiative organised by Blackrock College transition year students to raise funds for their sister school in Machakos, Kenya, Cullen insisted that his immediate focus is on this Saturday’s PRO14 game against Benetton.

"Treviso are only a point behind Ulster so there’s a lot of stake for them but for us it’s about getting some positive momentum going into next week," he said.

The former Leinster captain also revealed his plans to ring in the changes on Saturday in an attempt to keep his players fresh.

"We’ll make some changes from the team that played against Zebre because it’s important that the squad is fresh and motivated for the challenges ahead," he said.

Leinster have welcomed back a number of internationals over the last few weeks following last month’s Grand Slam win and Cullen was quick to praise their determination to return to club action.

"They’ve been good, they’re hungry to come back and be successful because we’ve a lot of exciting games to look forward to."

Cullen attributes Leinster’s recent success in part to the influence of Stuart Lancaster, who was appointed as senior coach following defence coach Kurt McQuilkin’s sudden departure in 2016.

"Stuart’s been fantastic," he said.

"We were in a situation where we lost a coach in Kurt McQuilkin through the middle of pre-season at the time."

"We were looking for available candidates when Stuart’s name cropped up and I thought he could add value to the club and he’s fitted in really, really well."

Ireland star and Blackrock past pupil Garry Ringrose was also in attendance at the launch of the 5K Rock Run event, which was started by the school last year.

Bank of Ireland, Friends First and KPMG are title sponsors of the event, which is a charity run open to all but with an elite element.

The run will take place on the grounds of Blackrock College on 22 April, with the proceeds going to the Machakos project in Kenya.

For more information - and to join the run - click here

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