Tuesday 20 August 2019

'This is Leinster Rugby and we don't do weak sides': Jack Conan defends team selection for Munster clash

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Leinster back row Jack Conan has defended Leo Cullen's decision to rotate his squad for the St Stephen's Day loss to Munster.

With two inter-provincial clashes scheduled over the festive period, the Leinster boss had to decide when to deploy his internationals, with IRFU player management guidelines dictating that his first choice stars could only play in one of the fixtures.

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Cullen opted to rest the majority of his frontline players for Monday's trip to Thomond Park, with league leaders Munster subsequently earning a bonus point win against Leinster, who were second before the game.

Tony Ward criticised Cullen's decision in his Irish Independent column last week, stating that picking a weakened Leinster team was disrespectful to the Pro12's marquee fixture.

Conan was one of the few Leinster players who performed on the day, making a series of powerful carries, and the young Number Eight defended the players who took the field to take on their southern rivals.

"People were rested and lads were given an opportunity but this is Leinster Rugby and we don't do weak sides," Conan told the media on Tuesday.

"It was an opportunity for people to put their hands up and all credit to Munster, they showed up on the day. Credit where credit is due, they deserved to win."

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The loss against Munster dropped Leinster down to third in the table, three points behind the Ospreys in second and five off Munster.

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