Cullen apologises for Warriors and Rangers remark

Leo Cullen has apologised for comments made last week when he suggested that all of Glasgow Warriors' players were Rangers fans.

The Leinster head coach made the remark after his side's Guinness PRO14 semi-final win against Munster in the RDS and it struck as odd and out of character at the time from a man who is normally more measured in his media dealings.

It was a remark that was met with some displeasure in Scotland where the sometimes sectarian nature of the football divide between Rangers and Celtic can all too frequently cause emotions and actions to boil over.

Jim Craig, a member of the famous Lisbon Lions Celtic team that won the European Cup by beating Internazionale in the Portuguese capital in 1967, was among those to pull Cullen up for his words this week.

“After the game last week, our semi-final, I made a comment that seemed to attract plenty of attention,” said Cullen at the Friday afternoon press conference for tomorrow's PRO14 decider against the Warriors at Parkhead.

“Just so that we’re all aware, it was a throwaway remark,” he added. “It was made in jest and I didn’t mean to offend anyone. For any individuals that I did offend, I apologise to them.”

Cullen has recalled Jonathan Sexton, Rob Kearney and Scott Fardy to the XV from last week, the last of that trio due at least in part to the unavailability of Devin Toner who was ruled out through injury.

Kearney's future has been the subject of some debate this week as his IRFU central contract runs out after the World Cup and he has yet to sign another with the union or with anyone else.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said earlier this week that the two parties were very close to a deal and Cullen was similarly positive about the chances of the 33-year hanging around for club and country post-Japan.

“We’d be very hopeful that Rob stays as well and, because it’s a little bit later, ideally you’d like to have these things done normally, but with the way some of the contracts roll with the World Cup it’s a little bit later. So that’s why it has probably taken a little bit longer,” said Cullen.”

“But we’re very keen for Rob to stay, we hope he does but I’m sure he has interest (from elsewhere), but I thought Rob was exceptional (against) Saracens (in Champions Cup final). He comes back in fresh this week so hopefully, it’s a good boost for our guys.”

More on this topic

Leinster investigation into alleged incident 'concluded to the satisfaction of all parties'

Absent friends will be missed in Japan

Unrelenting thirst for medals brings more joy in blue

Even in victory, Saracens defeat still stuck in Leinster minds

More in this Section

Derby hoping for quick resolution after letting Chelsea speak to Lampard

Ireland’s Ryan Mullen a single second off time trial medal at European Games

Cricket legend Lara in Indian hospital after health scare

Wexford dealt suspension blow ahead of Leinster final


Lifestyle

Hozier adds more believers to his church after Cork gig

Simply off the wall: Your go-to guide to shelving

Peter Dowdall shares his top 4 flower picks to add a splash of summer colour to your garden

Ask a counsellor: ‘Why does my husband hate that our daughter’s dating a man going through divorce?’

More From The Irish Examiner