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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

'There's no magic formula, everyone is working hard and enjoying it out there'

Leo Cullen said Sexton ‘jarred his back’ during the win over Glasgow this afternoon.

Leinster are the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Leinster are the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ryan Bailey reports from the RDS

LEINSTER PRETTY MUCH ticked every box this afternoon as they eased into the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup with an eight-try demolition of Glasgow Warriors, but Leo Cullen stressed his side will need to cut down on errors if they are to build on an encouraging start to the campaign.

As much as the visitors provided easy pickings, Leinster produced another performance of serious substance to secure top spot in Pool 3 with a game to spare and also add weight to the claims they are the team to beat in this year’s competition.

First-half tries from Jordi Murphy, Isa Nacewa, Sean Cronin, Scott Fardy and Johnny Sexton sealed the bonus point before the break but without getting carried away with his side’s achievement, Cullen was quick to highlight the areas they’ll need to improve in.

“We’re very, very pleased to get a win and a bonus point as well,” the head coach said afterwards.

“It was a little bit mixed as Glasgow were very aggressive at the start of the game and we probably coughed up the ball a little bit cheaply. When we got a bit more control and structure in the game we looked better and we had the period 20 minutes before half time when I thought the lads were very, very good.

“We created a lot of good opportunities and we were more accurate at the ruck which led us to getting more good ball. Second half was a bit mixed really as there were changes coming in from both teams and both teams probably got into bad habits of playing too loose. Ultimately we’re obviously delighted to get the win and bonus point.

“It’s important to be winning games and maintain good habits, there a few areas we need to be better come the knock-out stages. Even against Montpellier, we can get punished for those errors.

“There are lots of areas that many of our players can improve upon which is always exciting for us. It was nice to score a few tries but we leaked a few tries so room to get better.”

Leo Cullen Cullen speaking to the media afterwards. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Since losing to Glasgow in the Guinness Pro14 at the start of November, Leinster have embarked on an eight-game winning streak and have scored an average of nearly 35 points per game since.

Their ruthless and clinical streak was again on show here as they dominated the contest and ran in three more tries in the second period through Nacewa, James Lowe and Fardy.

When asked if his side were in the running to win the competition, Cullen said: “We have six days [before Montpellier] we still want to go over and put in a big performance so for us now it’s about preparing and going out to perform.

“Then there’s a break and guys go away for the Six Nations so the quarter final is a long, long time away. So we’ll see how it unfolds.

“There’s no magic formula, everyone is working hard. There was a lot of disappointment over how we finished last season. Everyone is working hard at the moment.

“It’s a competitive group, everyone is pushing each other on and it’s good to see they’re enjoying it out there as well. There’s plenty to work on and to look forward to. It’s nice to be able to have a quarter-final on the horizon.”

On the knock sustained by Sexton in the act of scoring his try just before the break, Cullen said the out-half was ‘fine’ and that he had ‘jarred his back.’

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Leinster the team to beat in Europe and more talking points from the RDS

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Ryan Bailey

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