Leo Cullen praises Leinster’s resilience after nightmare journey to France – The Irish Times

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen highlighted the fact that the playgroup has the maturity to put travel cuts aside and focus on the task at hand, beating Racing 92 42-10 in the inaugural Heineken Champions Cup fixture.

Leinster’s flight on Friday, originally bound for Deauville, was delayed for five hours on departure, then diverted to Beauvais airport in Paris, and from there there was another long wait as they tried to secure a coach and taxis to transfer the players. Le Havre. It was close to 14 hours from door to door, and in the process the team was unable to complete the captain’s run at Stade Oceane.

Against this background, their six-try win against the Paris club is even more impressive. Cullen explained, “Sometimes it was one of the tests you had to pass. There were a lot of families there, a lot of parents were on that flight, which was great, so you can see a lot of proud parents in the crowd today.

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“[There were] There are many disappointments for the fans stranded at Dublin Airport but we hope they enjoyed watching the game.”

Cullen enjoyed many aspects of his team’s performance, but a few stood out, keeping the hosts untouched until the 75th minute of the game and the way Leinster struggled on defense. “We were clinical enough to capitalize on the opportunities we created. There was probably one or two more chances we left out, but we thank the players.

“I think about how they manage themselves right now; There have been a lot of players floating around in the last few years so they are always gaining tiers of experience so how they lead each other is most gratifying.

“There are a lot of guys this week who are disappointed that they weren’t involved, so internal competition is important when a few players are beaten for whatever reason. That’s what you need and that’s the nature of this block. You have to be able to deal with what’s going on on a given day.

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“Last week was a red card, there were a few problems with travel this week but you have to be able to deal with these hurdles.”

He paid tribute to the leadership of Garry Ringrose, who put out an outstanding game. Cullen said: “Garry, especially as captain, has kept a very calm and balanced head amid some of the chaos going on around him.

“It’s great to see him evolve as a leader too, but there’s a lot of support around him as well. To be successful in any team sport, you need a lot of leaders across the team, so it’s important that we keep working on that.

“He’s very diligent in all aspects of his game, physically, tactically and from a leadership perspective. We’re also talking about Josh, these players are very easy to work with because they have a very strong mindset to constantly improve.

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“They’re very curious and want to learn more about how things work. It’s important for the club that we include these characters and they are good role models for the young players who tend to mirror those characters. You always need those guys.”

Ringrose, future Leinster and captain of Ireland? “Absolutely yes. You see what he’s doing with Leinster right now, but there’s a lot of support around him. Ross [Byrne] 10-year-old James Ryan in terms of leading forwards; He [Ringrose] there and during the week it was perfect. The current state of the game, you can’t trust one person and that’s different from the past.”

The focus now is on a ‘shorter’ ride home and a clash with Gloucester on RDS next Friday night.


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