Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Winning Ugly

'It was brutal, ugly stuff but it's all about getting to a final,' says Cullen

Leinster coach admits only the purist could have enjoyed last night’s low score bore.

LAST UPDATE | 5 Sep 2020

LEINSTER COACH LEO Cullen confessed that last night’s grim 13-3 victory over Munster fell somewhat shy of classic status.
Or to quote him directly: “It was brutal.”
The defending champions held out against bitter rivals Munster to book their place in next Saturday’s decider. There they will play the winners of today’s game between Edinburgh and Ulster.
Afterwards Cullen said: “You’ve got to be very accurate against a team (like) that (when) all they want to do is box kick and apply that pressure game. So it’s tricky (for us especially when) there are interpretations around the ruck that favour the defensive side. It’s a tricky balance that you have to strike. 
“Being honest (last night’s) game was not a great spectacle but for us all that matters is winning and getting through to the final.”
Winning is something Leinster have got used to – this being their 24th victory in a row. Yet the DVD from the game is unlikely to become a best seller.
“It was pretty ugly stuff, an ugly contest,” Cullen said.  
“It was always going to be a bit of a dogfight after the heavens opened up before the game – the rain making the conditions greasy. I must admit it wasn’t the prettiest game ever.”
Nonetheless, even ugly games have their merits, and the continued excellence of Caelan Doris was one key takeaway from this encounter.

caelan-doris-competes-against-billy-holland-in-a-line-out Doris competes against Billy Holland at the line-out. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“Caelan was really good,” Cullen said, “dynamic in the carry and really hungry for work so it was really pleasing for him. He’s still a young player coming through. He’s had a good pre season and has come back (from lockdown) with the bit between his teeth.

“That was a good performance from him against a quality Munster backrow who had the likes of Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander in there. In this respect, it was good to see Caelan do so well.”

Leinster captain, Johnny Sexton, also spoke candidly about his side’s performance, saying they have plenty to work on ahead of next week’s final. 

“We need to be better in certain areas but overall we showed some good courage,” the Ireland captain told Eir Sport after the game.

“It was obviously a very difficult game in terms of conditions, the way that Munster play made it very difficult for us.

“Ultimately it’s great to get a win, that’s what you come into semi-finals for and thankfully we picked it up.

“We gave away some cheap penalties, so we need to work on discipline and the breakdown…there’s also some areas we need to improve on in our attack.

“They made it very tough for us at the breakdown, it was very greasy, there were a few showers before the game which made the ball difficult to handle.

“It’s a risk when when you play rugby in your own half, we did a few times in the second-half stupidly and nearly paid the price for it.”

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