It may have been a dead-rubber game for Leinster but Leo Cullen reckons last weekend's Guinness Pro14 defeat to Ospreys served his side well.

Much had been made of Munster’s 10-year wait for a trophy and the fact that Leinster were almost nonchalantly picking up domestic honours year after year.

It was fair to suggest that the visitors to the RDS this evening may had had an edge when it came to hunger.

Add in the fact that Leinster have a six-day turnaround to their Heineken Champions Cup match against Toulon on Friday and you could have forgiven them for taking their eye off the ball.

Blowing a 19-3 lead to lose to their Welsh opponents certainly focused the four-in-a-row winners, according to Culle, whose side only suffered two defeats in the 16-game regular season. 

"Even though it didn’t matter, it sucked," the head coach told RTÉ Sport after their 16-6 win over Munster

"We were still in the final but it did suck.

"We had a lot of young players trying to manage that end of game piece and it’s painful for them guys and when they are feeling pain all of us backroom team feel it as well.

"It was a timely reminder maybe because, yeah, you talk about winning making you a little bit weak or soft or whatever and we need to ensure that doesn’t happen next week.

"All year you are working away, it’s a fair old slog to get to the final of this competition, with the conference format.

"We lost against Ospreys, we feel what the sensation of losing is like.

"We started off the season winning the [2020] Pro14 and then we lost to Saracens, it’s important we don’t make the same mistake again.

"Saracens came that day with a good plan. Maybe we were a bit off that day so it’s important that we are not off next Friday.

"It’s that balance now in terms of short turnaround.

"Enjoy the moment and we try to turn the page to Toulon because it’s a massive challenge against a star-studded squad." 

He added: "We're delighted, it’s strange being here in an empty stadium. I thought the effort from both teams was fantastic.

"We created a lot in the second half, we just couldn’t nail some of the opportunities.

"In fairness to the players, I thought they managed the second half quite well, got over early and controlled possession and territory for most of the game."


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Munster have now lost six in a row against Leinster and once again failed to land a blow in a knock-out encounter against their rivals.

Head coach Johann van Graan preferred not to focus on his team’s shortcoming, and many were exposed in the game, instead hailing the perennial champions.

"Currently they are an excellent rugby team," he said. 

"They scored one try, we scrambled really well and we currently can’t get past them.

"No team can currently get past them now. That’s not good enough for us to lose in a final.

"We came here to win and believed that we could but fair play to them, they have won four Pro14s in a row now.

"They are very good, they are exceptionally good. 

"If you've got 15 players in the 23 that played against England, their depth, if you look at the bench they have, they are a phenomenal team.

"You have to give it to them. They are currently the best team by a mile. 

"They won the battle in the air and the battle in the scrum, they kept us penned in our 22." 

Follow Leinster v Toulon (5.30pm, Friday) and Munster v Toulouse (3pm, Saturday) in Champions Cup action via our live blogs on RTE.ie and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ 2fm's Game On and RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport.