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‘Just Pass It Into Josh’ – Cullen Glad Gibson-Park Went With Instinct

Seven tries, 52 points, a bonus-point win and no major injury worries – not a bad night’s work for Leo Cullen and his management team. 

Cullen cut a relaxed figure as he spoke to the media after Leinster’s comprehensive win at the RDS and why wouldn’t he be? He has just overseen his side put the Dragons to the sword in their first home game of the Guinness PRO14 season in front of their own fans.

Most importantly, Cullen would have been pleased with the reaction his players showed after last week’s disappointing defeat away to the Scarlets – not a bad result in most people’s books – but this is the reigning champions and they expect to win every game.

“It was good,” Cullen began. 

“Nice to be back in the RDS. Good crowd here, we’re pleased to get a win and a bonus point as well. We were pretty disappointed with the way we went last week.

“A number of the guys have come back in. So, to get them through the game, get the bonus point and we’re pretty good on the injury front as well, so we’ve plenty of positives from the day.” 

The score could have been much higher for Leinster if they managed to put away the numerous chances they created in the opening 40 minutes and no doubt this will be reviewed and reflected upon as they prepare to take on Edinburgh next weekend.

“Yeah, there were a lot of near-misses, we maybe forced passes a couple of times. We had that try disallowed when we went back for the neck roll.

“I thought Dragons were very competitive around the ruck, slowed us down a few times, but the ball was in play for long periods and we know if we stay at it, stick to the plan, that some of those opportunities will come later on which thankfully they did.”

There was no shortage of excellent performances but it was no surprise when Jamison Gibson-Park was awarded the man-of-the-match at the end of the game. In addition to scoring two tries, he was at the centre of everything good Leinster produced today and he was also on hand to set up many tries for his teammates, including the kick through assist for Jordan Larmour.

“He’s such a talented player, Jamison,” Cullen said.

“He’s so lively; he’s quick, strong…great skill set. He worked well with Johnny [Sexton], some good little bits of interplay with some of the forwards around the ruck as well which creates a couple of breaks for us. He took his couple of chances well.

“He put in a nice kick for Jordan’s try, I was there ‘umm just pass it into Josh [van der Flier]’ but then he puts the kick in and Jordan scores, so excellent decision! So yeah, I thought Jamison did very well.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email or on Twitter