Leinster have final date and Pro12 trophy in sight

Pro12: Leinster v Treviso, RDS, 3pm

Leinster outhalf Johnny Sexton: “Johnny is a very passionate guy and he is very passionate about Leinster rugby,” said coach Leo  Cullen. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster outhalf Johnny Sexton: “Johnny is a very passionate guy and he is very passionate about Leinster rugby,” said coach Leo Cullen. Photograph: Inpho

 

Way back in December after Toulon had knocked Leinster out of Europe Leo Cullen was asked what would represent a successful campaign. He mentioned the only trophy left on offer.

They are going win this game by a heavy margin and finish second in the table, first if Connacht and Glasgow draw in Galway, so they will be hosting the weekend after next and should return to the Pro 12 final, in Edinburgh, after a season in hiatus.

That can be achieved without Seán O’Brien, Cian Healy, Luke Fitzgerald, Ian Madigan and Josh van der Flier. A reflection of how the new generation of players have evolved this season is best exemplified by the last name on that list being the most sorely missed.

A reaction to last week’s collapse in Belfast is expected. If not, Johnny Sexton’s post-match reaction will be similar to the climactic scene in The Exorcist. Sexton reached Roy Keane’s heights in his criticism of everyone, from chief executive all the way down to Bobby Boucher, after Ulster’s resounding 30-6 victory.

“Johnny is a very passionate guy and he is very passionate about Leinster rugby,” said Cullen. “Of course there is a change but that is just the nature of the game. The club went through a very successful period and some players have moved on.

“Isa (Nacewa) mentioned how some of the young guys are coming through now so it is for the next wave. We have used 10 academy players this season in the Pro 12. That is an incredibly high number but it is going to take time for those guys to put their stamp on it.

“That’s all part of the cyclical nature of it. When certain players move on it is important for the next group to step up.”

Step up and win a trophy. Because that’s the Leinster way.

LEINSTER: R Kearney; I Nacewa (capt), G Ringrose, B Te’o, D Kearney; J Sexton, E Reddan; J McGrath, R Strauss, M Ross; D Toner, M Kearney; R Ruddock, J Murphy, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, P Dooley, T Furlong, R Molony, D Ryan, L McGrath, C Marsh, N Reid.

TREVISO: J Hayward; L Nitoglia, T Iannone, A Sgarbi, A Esposito; L McLean, E Gori; M Zanusso, O Gega, S Ferraro; M Fuser, F Paulo; F Minto, A Zanni (capt), A Steyn. Replacements: L Big, M Muccignat, S Manu, M Lazzaroni, A de Marchi, A Lucchese, J Ambrosini, E Bacchin.

Referee: B Whitehouse (WRU).

Formguide: Leinster – LWWLL. Treviso – WLLLL.

Forecast: Leinster win.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.