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Cardiff win 'a good reality check' for Leinster ahead of Champions Cup quarter-final

Leo Cullen says his players will take valuable lessons from today’s game.

Tomos Williams dives over for the first of Cardiff's three tries.
Tomos Williams dives over for the first of Cardiff's three tries.

Ryan Bailey reports from the RDS 

IT’S OFTEN SAID a defeat can be more instructive than victory, and although Leinster came out the right side of the result earlier, the performance against Cardiff Blues was a timely ‘reality check’ ahead of the Champions Cup quarter-final with Wasps.

Having strolled through the last four games, and indeed large parts of the season, Leo Cullen’s side were really tested this afternoon but managed to dig deep and grind out a 22-21 win to return to the top of the Guinness Pro12.

All the attention now turns to next Saturday’s clash with Wasps at the Aviva Stadium and Cullen admitted today served as a valuable lesson to his players with Cardiff exposing issues in the Leinster defensive armour.

“It’s possibly a fortunate escape,” the head coach said afterwards. “We forced things, got ourselves in a lot of trouble. There’s some good lessons there, for a lot of our young boys in particular. It shows you, it’s a tight league.

“They’ve [Cardiff] a lot of experience in their team, from 1-23, some good pros who have been around, international experience and a lot of pace. We talked about their pace, but I’m not sure anyone was listening. We forced things, and off turnover ball they scored three tries – there’s their 21 points.”

The Leinster team huddle on the pitch after the match The Leinster huddle at full time. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Leinster were caught, and punished, three times on the counter-attack but got out of jail as Ross Molony’s try ensured the hosts maintained their winning streak and returned to the summit of the league.

While Leinster will be boosted by the return of several internationals next week, Cullen is fully aware that his side will need to make huge improvements against an opposition who have potential to cause just as much damage as Cardiff did today.

“It’s a timely reminder,” he said. “Wasps, of all the teams in Europe, they’ve probably more pace than anyone. Look at the backline — Wade, Beale, Le Roux, Eliot Daly, they’ve a lot of pace. It’s a good reality check for us.”

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Below-par Leinster forced to dig deep as Cullen’s men edge past Cardiff

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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