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Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster boss Leo Cullen says there is 'still room for growth' despite win over Toulouse

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Published in Rugby
Saturday, 14 May 2022 12:50

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen says there is "still room for growth" within his side despite their emphatic Champions Cup semi-final win over holders Toulouse.

James Lowe scored two tries and captain Johnny Sexton kicked 15 points as the Irish province won 40-17 to reach their first decider since 2019.

Leinster will face either Racing 92 or La Rochelle in the 28 May showpiece.

"For our guys, I thought it was a good performance overall," said Cullen.

"There's still room for growth as always, but to deliver a big performance in a semi-final, it's pleasing."

Leinster are now just one win away from equalling Toulouse's record haul of five European titles and will come up against familiar opposition in the Marseille final regardless of who wins Sunday's second semi-final.

Racing 92 were the team Leinster beat in the final to win their last title in 2018 while La Rochelle defeated them at the last-four stage last season.

'Hugely exciting challenge'

Cullen's former Ireland team-mate Ronan O'Gara coaches La Rochelle while Mike Prendergast, another Irishman, is part of Racing's coaching set-up, but the Leinster boss says facing either French side will be a "hugely exciting challenge" for his team.

"I was listening to Mike Prendergast yesterday, just talking about the desire of Racing to win a European star," added Cullen.

"From their owners all the way through the club, it's a big goal of theirs.

"We lost that semi-final against La Rochelle last year. We didn't quite deliver our best performance on the day. At this stage of the tournament, you need to be delivering close to your best against the best teams in Europe.

"It's a hugely exciting challenge, away against a French team regardless."

Leinster delivered a dominant display in front of the 40,000-strong crowd at the Aviva Stadium and Toulouse head coach Ugo Mola admitted his side were second best on the day as they fell short in their quest for back-to-back titles.

"Today there are too many things that separated us from Leinster," said Mola. "We failed to stem the blue waves. We came across a much better team than us.

"You have to know how to learn from it. Leinster have been at the highest level for 20 years and the only time we beat them in the finals was at home.

"We know that to beat this kind of team, you have to be at your best. That was far from the case today in terms of freshness, speed, change of pace. Congratulations to this Leinster team who achieved an XXL performance."

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