Leinster’s incredible run in the Pro14 continued with their 23rd straight victory in all competitions this season with a 27-5 win in the final over Ulster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
After conceding the first try after four minutes, the hometown side failed to concede a single point thereafter, running away with the final in the second half despite some jitters with their performance. Ulster were down only five at halftime but an early penalty kick to Leinster followed by a gut-wrenching intercept moments later quickly blew the deficit out to 15, which proved insurmountable.
The third straight league title for Leinster elevated their status as one of the most dominant sides in sport, ensuring they will go down in history as a revered side with an undefeated season. The men in blue enjoyed praise on social media for their achievement with many in awe of an ‘untouchable’ club side.
Good to see the state of Irish rugby looks bright after an all Irish final, all I hope is for the irfu to maybe look at managing some of the other provinces a bit more and make the provincial game even stronger. Works for everyone right? #SUFTUM #LEIvULS @PRO14Official @IrishRug
— Jack Fogarty (@FogartyJack) September 12, 2020
The untouchables of European rugby @leinsterrugby duly complete a hat-trick of PRO12-14 titles with plenty to spare, 27-5 @UlsterRugby . That's 23 out of 23 for the season with @Saracens next up in Dublin @ChampionsCup next week. Can't see anyone beating the All Blues.
— Peter Jackson (@JackoRugby) September 12, 2020
No shocks in the end. Leinster are some machine… Big gulf again.
— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) September 12, 2020
After winning every game in a league season over the course of more than a year, this Leinster side now go down in history as amongst the most dominant in any sport. #LEIvULS
— Karl Brophy (@KarlBrophy) September 12, 2020
A few asked whether their dominance and ‘monopoly’ on silverware is a good thing, with worries that the imbalance in power won’t be changed any time soon with Leinster’s powerhouse academy pumping out a production line of pro calibre players with the other teams picking up the names that aren’t able to stay.
Some corners of Welsh fans held onto a belief that Leinster escaped being tested by the Scarlets this season, thus aiding their undefeated season. Without a trip to Cardiff, Leinster avoided any clashes with the Welsh side in the shortened season.
Leinster are an exceptional team, but it’s such a bad look for the Pro 14 that they’ve gone undefeated while barely getting out of third gear and playing weakened teams all the way up to the final.
It’s just not good for anyone for a league to be this uncompetitive.
— Josh Gardner (@joshgardner) September 12, 2020
Unfortunately Ulster can’t expect to be competitive with Leinster when such a large portion of their squad is made up of players Leinster themselves have already deemed not good enough, (i.e. rejects). Can’t keep being Dublin’s dumping ground. #LEIvULS #SUFTUM
— Ian Turner (@i_am_turner) September 12, 2020
Congrats to Leinster etc, but legitimate questions will be asked regarding the legitimacy of this triumph, given how they went through a shortened league season, without once coming face-to-face with the one team capable of stopping them dead in their tracks. #LEIvULS
— Edward Jenkins (@edjenx) September 12, 2020
They haven't played the Scarlets (or Cardiff) in this unbeaten run as far as i know.
(Not that i think we could have stopped their first team this year)
— Gareth (@GarethJC10) September 12, 2020
The views around Leinster’s unrestrained power could be a ‘prisoner of the moment’ trapping, forgetting that not so long ago their were doubts around Leo Cullen’s ability to turn Leinster’s fortunes around, with the club reeling from the Matt O’Connor years where the side had perpetually declined after a successful era under former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt.
Those seeing the bigger transformation picture were ready to lather Cullen with superlatives, ready to label him a ‘legend of a coach’ and player for his work.
When Leo Cullen took over a few years back there was a genuine feeling that he got the job cos no-one decent wanted it and there was a fear he'd be a disaster. How wrong that was and what a coach hes turned out to be. Legend of a player – legend of a coach #LEIvULS #GuinnessPRO14
— Conor Flynn (@conf101) September 12, 2020
Leo Cullen doesn't get enough credit for the job he has done at #LeinsterRugby, the ability to keep the hunger within the team and the conveyor belt of talent happy and united is amazing. Surely next Ireland head coach?
— Billy Wright (@billy_wright92) September 12, 2020
Leo Cullen is 42.
He captained Leinster to three Heineken Cup titles in 2009, 2011 & 2012. He won 3 league titles & a challenge cup.
As a coach he’s led Leinster to three consecutive Pro14 titles in 2018, 2019 & 2020
A Heineken Champions Cup in 2018
And nowhere near finished.
— Sinéad Kissane (@sineadkissane) September 12, 2020
This was Leo Cullen's first big test as a coach. 6 of that squad were making their European debuts.
— Baz Walsh (@BazWalsh85) September 12, 2020
Former captain and Irish international Jamie Heaslip also offered his view, putting the success down to the system and process of developing talent which other teams could potentially learn from, which led to 53 players being used in this season’s successful campaign.
53 players used in the season by Leinster. Investing in their system and process of developing talent. Granted probably a bigger player pool to take from but lessons to be learned about bringing through the talent and giving them exposure to playing in senior team. #LeivUls
— jamie heaslip (@jamieheaslip) September 12, 2020
Other fans shared a similar view around an academy-driven approach, questioning whether there any significant road blocks to club sides in Wales & Scotland taking the same approach.
I haven’t a clue what Leinsters budget is and no one seems to know but I don’t think it’s beyond the reach of clubs in Wales or Scotland if they develop their academy’s to the same extent as Leinster have. The talent must be there in large areas of Wales & Scotland surely?
— Sean Larkin (@SPLarkin) September 12, 2020
Leinster certainly have proven to have a hold over the Pro14 but they will be now looking ahead to the European title race where they were downtrodden by an imposing Saracens side in the final last year, despite being the defending champions.
They will face Saracens in a do-or-die quarter-final clash next weekend, while Pro14 runners up Ulster will have to pick themselves up to play Toulouse.
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