Friday 18 January 2019

Cullen feels that he's like a 'travel agent' for Blues

Leo Cullen. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leo Cullen. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

There is a sense that the Leinster hierarchy of coaching might better be explained as Leo Cullen in the role of Director of Rugby and Stuart Lancaster as head coach.

"I remember reading Alex Ferguson's book and he talked about when he started off coaching Manchester United. He was doing a lot of on-field coaching.

"One of his assistants at the time said, 'why are you doing so much on-field coaching when I can do that and allow you to watch more of what's going on?'

"I thought that was quite sensible," said Cullen.

Certainly, he has been involved in a lot of the off-field organisation for the Blues two-match trip to South Africa for rounds three and four of the PRO14 League.

"I've been working as a travel agent," he joked.

The late introduction of the Southern Kings and The Cheetahs has created all kinds of problems that have still to be solved.

"There's a huge amount of planning has to go into it, the logistics," he said.

"It's definitely a spanner in the works, especially as the first team to be out there, us along with Zebre.

"At the same time, it's definitely difficult in terms of planning because it's late as well.

"We still haven't got full confirmation of the trip yet.

"The dialogue back and forth of what we are allowed to do and what we're not allowed to do is still going on."

Leinster are busy making ready for their third pre-season match against Bath at Donnybrook on Friday night.

Thereafter, there will be the PRO14 opening night away to Bernard Jackman's Dragons, a home appointment against Cardiff Blues ahead South Africa.

After that, the Ireland internationals and Lions should appear.

"The start of the season is often difficult for Leinster. You're trying to manage guys back in.

"But when they're playing their first game, it's against players who have maybe played four, five or six rounds.

"Every player will tell you the challenge of playing your first game, blowing those cobwebs out, getting up to speed.

"The reality is that nothing beats playing games."

Only winning them.

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