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'It's a concern' - Leinster aim to avoid bad habits amidst streak of bonus-point wins

Leo Cullen’s side have opened the new season with six bonus-point wins from six games.

Leinster scored eight tries against Edinburgh on Monday night.
Leinster scored eight tries against Edinburgh on Monday night.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

LEINSTER BOSS LEO Cullen says the province must work hard to ensure their streak of bonus-point wins in the Guinness Pro14 doesn’t come to cost them in the tougher tasks that lie ahead in the Champions Cup. 

Having won every single game of last season’s Pro14, Leinster have started the new campaign with six bonus-point wins from six games, scoring 34 tries in the process.

Leinster felt that their 2019/20 Pro14 season run-in hadn’t ideally prepared them for the Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Saracens back in September and Cullen’s men were disappointing on that big occasion.

Having dismantled last season’s Pro14 semi-finalists, Edinburgh, at the RDS on Monday night in an eight-try win, Cullen admitted that continuing to be so dominant is a concern for Leinster as they build towards the start of the 2020/21 Champions Cup season in December.

“Definitely,” said Cullen. “Of course it’s a concern.

“You’re trucking along, picking up bonus-point wins and then you’re seeing trends. Even, there’s a couple of things that we saw against Edinburgh. I think 14 was the penalty count given against us – on another day where you don’t take some of the opportunities that we took in the first half, suddenly it’s a very different game.

“I didn’t think we were at our best and even though we did pick up the bonus-point win, everyone – players and coaches – are very realistic that there’s a lot of things we can get better at.

“It’s important for us to be very open about that in terms of looking to improve all the time.

“That’s the biggest lesson for us over the last couple of weeks really, in terms of having that consistency and being open about what’s realistic.

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“Just because things went your way this week doesn’t mean you’ll get a bonus-point win other weeks.

“Particularly in the second half, I thought we looked ragged at times.

“I think it’s a very, very valid point. We need to make sure we don’t pick up bad habits that would cost us on a different day.”

Cullen’s side face the Cardiff Blues at the RDS this Sunday hoping for a far tougher test of their ability.

Assistant coach Felipe Contepomi underlined that Leinster still need to produce excellent performances to keep up their 100% streak.

“I don’t think we just blow teams away, we have had to work for our victories because definitely there is a lot more for us to improve on and we are conscious of those things,” said Contepomi. 

“You’re only as good as your next game. It’s important that we keep in mind that even if we are getting good results.

“We don’t look much at results, we try to look more at performance, and that’s where I think you realise there are certain things we can get better at.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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