Away win gives Leo perfect lift ahead of Bath’s visit to Aviva

LEINSTER’S Leo Cullen admits he is looking forward to this weekend’s Heineken Cup clash with Bath at the Aviva.

Leinster are fresh from an away win against the same opponents last Sunday at the Rec, and Cullen says victory on the road is always a fillip.

“It’s always good getting away wins in Europe. Bath are a pretty good team even if their form hasn’t been all that amazing. They have good quality players.

“There were certain aspects of our game that weren’t great, but that’s just something to work on I guess.”

“Opportunities which were created weren’t always taken. Is that a worry? You’d be more worried though if you weren’t creating any opportunities.

“We’re at a stage now where we’re playing at home, we’re top of the pool at the moment and we just need to continue on in that vein of form.”

Cullen points to the positives from the weekend: “Parts of our game weren’t ideal against Bath, but we dogged it out. Going behind with 15 minutes to go, you have to show a little bit of resolve and character.

“Thankfully we had that and were able to come back and pick up a couple of penalties late on and close out the game.”

Rucking was the major focus after the game, he adds.

“I think there was just a sense of disappointment in the fact that we just weren’t quite hitting our potential. Bath made it very difficult for us as well, though.

“The breakdown was a real dogfight and they put a lot of pressure on us in that area and made life difficult for our nines.

“We need to be wary of that ourselves and be a bit more clinical and accurate in the way we approach our ruck. Hopefully we’ll get better ball this weekend.”

Cullen is aware that Leinster have a good home record to protect this weekend.

“I think when you play at home there’s always that pressure. The Aviva is our second home and obviously we’ve won five games there. Every time we go out, that record is on the block.

“We were 27 or 28 games unbeaten at the RDS up until a short while ago, but that was lost and you just have to start building again. I tend not to pay too much heed to it though, really.”

Cullen was facing a familiar face last weekend in Ulsterman Ryan Caldwell.

“Caldy is a big carrier for them. He’s always been a pretty athletic and abrasive guy. He was the same when he was at Ulster — he carried a lot of ball for them.

“[Stuart] Hooper got injured again during the week, I don’t know how bad he is, but Caldy has been starting most games and [Dave] Atwood [an England international] has been on the bench, so he’s clearly going well for them.

“A good move? It seems to have been. That’s what most players want — consistency in selection.”

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