Leinster’s Scott Penny celebrates with Dave Kearney after scoring a try. Craig Watson/INPHO

Leinster focused on Stormers after 'far from perfect' seven-try display

Leo Cullen says his side still has plenty to work on as they prepare to look towards their South African opposition.

FAR FROM PERFECT, particularly in the first half, but still good enough to get the job done with some comfort. That was the verdict from Leo Cullen, the Leinster head coach, on his team’s seven-try demolition job in Edinburgh.

“We told the players it was going to be a serious challenge with all that Edinburgh had on the line,” he explained. “You add that they had some quality players available – Sam Skinner and Hamish Watson from the Scotland team and Stuart McInally also coming back – it was always going to be a good test for some of our young guys. Could they come away and handle the atmosphere?

“I thought the players handled the occasion well. In many ways it was not perfect. You fall behind and then it is about how you respond and how you deal with that.

“There was lots of good stuff, but there was still stuff that was far from perfect. It was good to get a workout and good rugby from two teams that were keen to play.”

The result means that Leinster host the Stormers from South Africa later this month knowing a draw or better would guarantee them top seeding in the URC play offs.

“First against, second – a great challenge against a side that are also the UFC champions. It will be a test for us, one that will hopefully that’ll set us up well for Ulster and the challenge (in the Heineken Cup) the week after.

“We have great aspirations to win these play-off games it’s not quite as simple as that. You have opponents who also have grand plans.”

What the Edinburgh game, with the accuracy of their attacking game, the physicality of the defence and the ferocity of their breakdown work, also showed is just how good this second-string Leinster side can be.

“The big thing that’s driving the players at the moment is the competition; they all want to be involved in the big knockout games,” Cullen noted.

“It’s a really good challenge. Also how some of the national guys come back after the Six Nations, we’ll watch the last two two games there with great interest. We’ll see what we can learn from all the games and start to put a plan together, first for the Stormers and then for Ulster.”

The other boost for Cullen was that though they finished with 13 men on the pitch after picking up an injury after using all the replacements and then getting a yellow card, none of the injuries look too serious. Scott Penny and Jordan Larmour both too knocks on the shoulder and Harry Byrne rolled an ankle but with a break in the URC campaign, they have time to recover.

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