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Former All Black admits Leinster at 'international level'

By Ian Cameron
James Lowe /PA

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Former All Black back row Jerome Kaino admits that Leinster are at ‘international level’ and that any side in the world would struggle to beat them.


Leinster swept aside reigning Heineken Champions Cup champs Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, running out convincing 40 – 17 winners in front of a raucous home crowd. They now march on to the final in Marseille against either La Rochelle or Racing 92.

The defending champions were unable to keep up with the hosts’ fast-paced assault, with James Lowe, the tournament’s leading scorer this season, scoring two of the team’s four tries.

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Toulouse skills coach Kaino said after the game that: “In terms of the context of the match and how ruthless Leinster were, I guess we need to reflect and digest how we could have been a bit better. Our footwork just wasn’t close.”

Leinster contain much of the Ireland team that beat the All Blacks in November and are favourites to lift the Champions Cup for a fifth time.

“I think if they play like that with any team, they’ll be hard to beat. That pace, that intensity, that organisation, they’re definitely international level type of games.

“If they keep playing like that they’ll definitely be hard to beat.


Kaino refused to categorize a semi-final exit from the Champions Cup as a failure on the defending champion’s part.

“If you look at the quality of teams that were in our competition, in our pool and still to be able to make it to the semi-final for us, we can hold our heads high, but I think today we came up short against a ruthless and definitely a championship team.

“When we reflect I think there will be more than one area that we think we can improve. But I think we have to congratulate Leinster who didn’t allow us to play the way we wanted. I think we’ll digest that later.”

Leinster reached with their four Champions Cup victories to date in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2018. They will be hoping to equal Toulouse’s record of five trophy wins.



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