Sunday 20 January 2019

It all comes back to Sexton for Leinster to sting Wasps

Jonathan Sexton. Pic: Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton. Pic: Sportsfile

Leo Cullen doesn't want Leinster falling into the same trap as Ireland did at times in the Six Nations.

All the possession in the world is not worth a point on the scoreboard unless you can make proper use of it.

Ireland found this out against Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations and weren't too far away from having it happen again against England.

"Yeah, you can get bogged down sometimes on stats and say, 'oh, we had lots of possession and lots of territory.'

"But that doesn't really matter unless you are converting that into points.

"There are other factors in stats that we'll look at," said the coach.

"There is no point in coming out of a game and saying we'd 70 per cent of territory.

"You need to deal with the possession when you have it."

Indeed, it was this failing alone that undid Leinster against Wasps in the first round of the Champions Cup Pool matches last season.

They owned the ball for stretches and pounded away at Wasps until a breakdown in continuity cost them dearly.

"You talk about that Wasps game. We'd maybe 70 per cent possession.

"But there's no point in saying that after the game. We were well beaten on the scoreboard.

"We need to manage the game better."

This is why Leinster's progress will come back to how Jonathan Sexton handles what is in front of him.

It remains to be seen whether Cullen and Stuart Lancaster will choose to deploy Joey Carbery from full-back.

This would give The Blues a second pair of hands and eyes to pull Wasps out of their defensive system.

It would also relieve the heavy duty of pressure on Sexton to act alone as the first and only receiver.

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