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Monday 10 December 2018

Cullen cautious to take care in the pain game

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen

Leinster coach Leo Cullen looked like he needed a 'painkiller' to deal with a fair line of questioning digging into how the use of legal drugs is monitored and measured in the ultimate pain game.

The former Blues captain restricted his comments to "my own experiences" heading into Leinster's crucial Champions Cup match against Bath tomorrow.

"I was never a big fan, and even to this day, I'm not a big fan of taking medication.

"That's not to say I haven't taken an anti-inflammatory," he said.

"Rugby as a game, it's a physical contact sport. With that comes inflammation.

"What would you take to get rid of inflammation? It would be an anti-inflammatory probably."

"There is a certain part of the professional game that has supplementation, or whatever that is, in terms of different types of legal medication.

"To say there is an image of medication being handed out willy-nilly, I think that is a very unfair reflection on the environment we have here, at the moment.

"That's all I'm really concerned about, the environment we have here, at the moment.

"I'm not interested in dragging up things from the past. That would be my view."

With doubt, Cullen is a paternal figure to the young men under his watch.

The fact he has spent all but two years of his working life at Leinster should provide a degree of comfort to those on the outside looking in.

He has the best interests of the province at heart, in a way few other professional coaches do.

"Any time there is medication involved everyone needs to be very cautious," he stated.

"Ultimately, we need to provide an environment that is very safe for the players.

"I think we have unbelievable medical support in this environment at the moment."

It is one thing to go after people because they have broken the laws; another to do so when they have adhered to them. The issue of defining legal or illegal painkillers is a matter for World Rugby, the governing body, to examine and investigate.

Cullen is confident the Leinster medical staff honour their duty of care on a daily basis.

"It would really upset me if that was tarnished in any way whatsoever because I understand how much the people that care for the players actually care for them," he said.

CHAMPIONS CUP

Bath v Leinster,

Live BT Sport 2 (5.15)

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