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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 23 October, 2018

Cullen 'reasonably pleased' with Treviso win as Leinster's attention turns to Exeter

Leinster ran out comfortable winners over Treviso, but Cullen knows stiffer tests lie ahead.

Lowe celebrates his first Leinster try.
Lowe celebrates his first Leinster try.
Image: Inpho

LEO CULLEN DECLARED himself ‘reasonably pleased’ after watching his Leinster side comfortably run five tries past Treviso to head into next week’s Champions Cup visit to Exeter Chiefs with fierce competition for places within the squad.

Debutant James Lowe sparkled on his debut for the province and Garry Ringrose also marked his return with a try of his own, as the visitors built further momentum ahead of their back-to-back games against the Premiership champions.

Lowe, named man of the match, started and rounded off Leinster’s scoring at the Stadio di Monigo, with Jordi Murphy, Ringrose and Luke McGrath crossing in between to seal a 36-10 bonus-point victory.

“There were a lot of good things, I thought we took some good chances when they came,” Cullen said afterwards.

“It was a little bit of a stop-start game as the pitch was quite heavy. It was a little bit of a slog and there were plenty of errors from both teams at various stages during the game.

“But we’re very happy to get the win as we’ve seen Treviso, they came very close away to Ulster last week. They’ve been in reasonably good form and it’s a tricky place to come so we’re delighted to get the win.”

Leinster head into round three and four of the Champions Cup pool stages on the back of two emphatic victories in the Pro14, but Cullen knows his side will face a considerably stiffer task against the Chiefs in home-and-away games over the next two weekends.

So the sight of Lowe running in two tries in blue, coupled with the seamless return of Ringrose in midfield, means Cullen rendered the trip to Parma a satisfactory one, with Josh van der Flier also getting through 70 minutes and Vakh Abdaladze coming off the bench for his senior debut.

Garry Ringrose Garry Ringrose played 70 minutes on his return from injury. Source: Elena Barbini/INPHO

“We’ve got a couple of guys who have come in for their first games for Leinster, James Lowe on the wing and Vakh who has come through the academy and it’s great to get another young player into the team. Positive experience for those two guys so reasonably pleased with the evening’s work.

“Garry has been out the longest, hasn’t played since the summer tour so had to do a lot of work to get to this point. It was great to see him straight back in and he looked at home and scored a try as well.

“Josh had been going really well for us up until that point he got injured so great to have him back and adds to the depth as we enter into a huge block of games if you think the two Exeter games and then there’s three inter-pros in 11 days. And then the final two games in Europe so it’s a huge block.

“It’s been good to look at a few different combinations over the last couple of weeks and it’s a nice competitive environment for next week.”

On Lowe’s performance, Cullen added: “He’s a player we admired from afar and he has credentials as a proven finisher so it was nice for him to get off the mark today.

“He did a lot of good things through the game and we’ve tried to manage James reasonably sensibly since he’s arrived as we’re also conscious he’s come off a big season as well. It’s good to get him up and running.”

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