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Published: 13:16 | 24/1/16

Cullen demands big response


Leinster head coach Leo Cullen expects a big response from his young players following the record 51-10 drubbing against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.

The Irish province were already out of contention for the knock-out stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup following losses in their opening four pool games, but the manner of yesterday's defeat, a record for the three-times champions in European competition, will have hurt and Cullen has demanded an immediate response.

With many of the more established names about to head off on Six Nations duty, the former second row feels that this is a great opportunity for some of the younger players to stake their claim as Leinster prepare to take on Newport Gwent Dragons in the PRO12 at Rodney Parade on Friday night.

“We've a lot of faith in some of the players that we have coming through,” Cullen said after the Wasps defeat.

“It’s important that we just dust ourselves down now, try to build a bit of form in the Pro12 and put in a big performance against the Dragons.

“There’s a huge excitement about some of the talent we have coming through and it’s important that they really step up during this period."

Cullen admitted that he was pretty gutted by the team's performance in Coventry, particularly as they were just two points behind at 12-10 late in the first half before succumbing to a Wasps onslaught after the break.

“We’re pretty gutted at how we reacted," he added.

"We prepped reasonably well going in to this game. We’re very disappointed at how that second half went.

“We conceded some early scores which leads to us chasing the game very, very early and we lose our way, lose our shape and that’s very disappointing. Full credit to Wasps, they were very clinical.”

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