Leinster have dismissed the theory that the province is entering a difficult period of transition with the loss of key players already confirmed and more expected once the current season ends.
Jonathan Sexton will leave for Racing Sexton later this year, Isa Nacewa has this week announced his retirement from rugby while questions remain over other senior pros such as Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen.
“It’s been a long process to where we’ve got to from the start of professionalism,” said team manager Guy Easterby yesterday. “And for the last few years we’ve been able to manage the situation.
“Denis [Hickey] Shane [Horgan] and Girvan [Dempsey] — all back three players — retired and it was an end of era in that position, but Rob Kearney is there and Dave Kearney is coming through as well.”
Easterby recalled how Sexton had himself emerged after the unexpected loss, to injury, of Felipe Contepomi in 2009 and the hope now is that the province’s academy will combine with some astute signings and maintain its position as a leading Euro light.
“I feel we’re always in transition,” Easterby added. “My role is looking at the bigger picture. All I can say is we work incredibly hard to move forward and I think when we announce the signings for next year it will paint a very good picture.”
Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip remains convinced that the ethos that has seen Leinster capture three Heineken Cup titles in four years will live on regardless of who is or is not populating the changing-room.
“The culture part will be cultivated by the players so the culture is not going to change, the attitude it not going to change, but it is going to be disappointing to lose lads at the end of the season. We would love to finish on a high, regardless of the lads leaving us.
“We are a very ambitious bunch. We are still competitive in two competitions and we have two massive games in Glasgow this weekend and Ulster next weekend. They are some pretty big games in terms of the league and pulling in that massive lead they have.”
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