Leo Cullen Has A Go At Rival Provinces ‘Ringing Up Leinster Players’

Poachers.

Over the last coupe of seasons Leo Cullen and his Leinster coaching ticket have assembled one of the greatest club squads we’ve ever seen in the history of the game.

The Irish province seem to have strength-in-depth across the board, using over 50 players last season as the pulled off an unprecedented PRO14 and Champions Cup double.

But the big issue for Leinster at the moment is this ‘conveyor belt’ of talent so to speak – is moving way too fast, and they only have so many positions to fill, with a finite about of fixtures each season.

This has led to a number of players leaving Leinster for rivals provinces in recent times, with the likes of Joey Carbery, Jordi Murphy and Nick McCarthy all leaving is search of more minutes. Cullen has admitted it’s become a challenge to retain a lot of their talent.

“It’s a challenge, yeah,” Cullen told the Irish Independent.

“But it’s a very competitive environment. That’s what we want. The ‘A’s are playing in the final of the Celtic Cup… If you think about what’s coming up we hope there’s going to be a lot of players who go on to represent Ireland (in November).

“It’s one of the things I’d like to see, 15 Leinster players running out in green. It would be good, wouldn’t it?

“But we still obviously have to field a team when that takes place. So we’ll work away, and try and improve the players as best we can, because that’s what in our control – to make sure that the place is somewhere they want to play rugby; where they’re enjoying themselves and feel like they’re getting better.

“Even sometimes when they’re not starting or on the bench, they feel like there is a plan and a programme in place for them to improve and they enjoy the experience of being here as well. They feel like the club is taking care of them.

And Cullen has taken a pop at rival provinces ‘ringing up’ his younger players making big promises in order to lure them away from Leinster. He also admitted this week that the province did their best to retain Nick McCarthy before he signed for Munster.

“So, there’s other things that clubs are promising… we’re aware of other teams close to here ringing up young players and selling them stories about what they are going to get somewhere else.

“We know that that’s there, the club is very aware of it and what we can do about it is limited.

“We can just control trying to create a very good environment here where we think we’ll make ambitious players better, try and maximise their potential and do all of those things.

“It’s hard to know exactly what the future holds, players will decide to do different things and we understand and respect those decisions as well.”