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'We could get ourselves in trouble if we deliver that again' - Cullen critical of Leinster's big win

Caelan Doris of Leinster is congratulated by Jordan Larmour after scoring a try. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen had mixed feelings about his side’s seven-try performance despite a comprehensive 50-21 bonus point victory over Northampton in the Heineken Cup.

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Following last week’s emphatic 43-16 triumph in Franklin’s Gardens, the unbeaten Irish province did the double over Saints with a Garry Ringrose hat-trick and further tries from Tadhg Furlong, Dave Kearney, James Lowe and Caelan Doris.

He happy to make history as the first team to qualify for after just four rounds but there were some aspects of the performance that left Cullen a little frustrated.

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He said: “It was a little bit mixed I thought today. People are talking in quite positive terms about the performance, but there’s bits in there where we could get ourselves in trouble if we deliver that again.

“On the flip side, it’s a win. It keeps us trucking along. We turn our attention to other matters, back to the Guinness PRO14. We had some chances today where we didn’t quite capitalise. Defensively, it’s never great conceding three tries. There’s bits to do there.”

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In the absence of knee injury victim Jonathan Sexton, Ross Byrne started at fly-half and contributed 11 points before a dead leg forced him off, allowing Skerries youngster Ciaran Frawley to come on for his European debut.

Cullen was impressed with the way Frawley handled himself in front of a 42,041-strong crowd, adding: “Ross, just a dead leg for him. It was great experience for Ciaran Frawley to come on in that game. It’s a massive step up. He’s 22 years of age. Another positive step in his progression.

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“You’re playing here in the Aviva. We talked about it here yesterday. To get over 40,000 to a regular-season game is brilliant. Hopefully we have a couple of big attendances during this Christmas period as well with the interprovincial games.”

For Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd the biggest disappointment was their failure to come away with a bonus point of any description.

Although Dan Biggar, Ollie Sleightholme and Ahsee Tuala all crossed the whitewash, a fourth try never happened.

Boyd believes a strong finish to Pool One could keep the Gallagher Premiership outfit in the frame for a European knockout spot. They lie second on nine points, a full 10 behind Leinster.

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“Certainly the plan coming here today was to secure a bonus point,” admitted Boyd.

“We didn’t think that winning or losing the game would affect our chances of getting out of the pool or not. I think there’s a couple of obvious pools where there’s going to be two teams coming out.

“Then there’s probably a couple of pools where the runner-up has got a chance. If we can do well against Benetton at home and in the last game at Lyon, then I think we’re still alive.”

Leicester fans want more change at Welford Road:

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
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If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 8 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

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