Toulouse v Leinster: Leo Cullen’s post-match reaction
October 22, 2018 12:33 pm Conor Sharkey
Leinster Rugby fell to a one-point defeat against Toulouse at Stade Ernest-Wallon on Sunday afternoon in Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup.
The province went 14-0 behind inside the opening quarter of the game but fought back to bring the margin to one point before Toulouse struck against before half-time.
Leinster went ahead for the first time in the second half thanks to tries from James Ryan and Sean Cronin.
Leo Cullen’s men led by six until an interception at the French side’s 22 led to Maxime Médard going over. Thomas Ramos kicked the crucial conversion to give his side the lead by a single point.
“It’s frustrating for us,” Leo Cullen told BT Sport after the match.
“It was an unbelievable occasion. The crowd and the atmosphere there was amazing, two sets of players going hard at it.
“For us, we probably lacked a little bit of control in the first 20 minutes of the game which allowed Toulouse to build that 14-point lead. The lads fought back well, clawed our way back into the game, but we were probably just a little bit too inaccurate over the course of the 80 minutes.”
The Toulouse intercept try came at a point when Leinster appeared to be taking control of the match as the contest entered its final stages.
While he praised his own side’s ability to work their way back into the game, and Toulouse for executing the match-winning try, Cullen said there were areas to be worked on around how the team closed out the match.
“That’s the threat that they have, an unbelievably dangerous team with so much pace. They make a good read on an intercept and it comes off. Some unbelievably good hands and skills from them to finish in the corner, and they knock over the conversion from the sideline as well. It’s good play by them.
“There’s probably areas where we can be better in terms of trying to shut the game out when we’ve got that six-point lead with 10/15 minutes to go.
“Fighting back from 14-0 down is always good. We got ourselves back in a situation where we were in what looked like control of the game – ultimately it wasn’t. We fought our way back into the game well. It’s a tough place to come here and Toulouse are a very good team, they’re on the rise.
“There’s still a hell of a lot of rugby to be played in this pool. For us now there’s obviously going to be a bit of a break (in the Champions Cup). Toulouse are sitting pretty on top and suddenly we’re the team that has to chase somebody else now.”
Leinster are back in Guinness PRO14 action this Saturday away to Benetton Rugby (KO 4pm local/3pm Irish, live on eir Sport/Premier Sport).
The province’s next home match will be against Ospreys at the RDS Arena on Friday, 23 November (KO 7.35pm). Tickets for this game are on sale now from €25/10.
The Champions Cup returns in December when Leinster travel to take on Bath in a crucial Round 3 meeting at The Rec on Saturday, 8 December.
The following week Leinster welcome Bath to Aviva Stadium for the return fixture.
Both games will be crucial in determining who claims a place in the knockout stages, with Leinster two points ahead of Bath in the pool.