Leinster boss Leo Cullen said his side "dug in defensively" as they edged a physical interprovincial derby against Connacht to extend their winning start to the season.

Having run in eight tries against the Sharks last Saturday, Leinster had to settle for just the one in a wet and windswept Galway as Cormac Foley’s early try put them on course for a fifth successive victory.

As the weather deteriorated, so did both teams’ attacking game. Having struck early off a driving maul, Leinster were then frustrated by some staunch Connacht defending, as well as some poor handling errors and decision-making.

However, the visitors’ defence also stood firm in the face of some sustained periods of Connacht pressure, as the Westerners were held scoreless for the first time since January 2016.

"We started the game well and had some more chances to push on, but couldn’t quite nail them," said Leinster head coach Cullen.

"Then Connacht came back into the game. It's a very difficult place to come. There’s the crowd influence, they’re into everything, and the Connacht players feed off that. They fly into everything and make life difficult for us with the defensive pressure they put on us.

"It’s a great reflection for provincial rugby in Ireland. I know the game was not a classic but there was great intent and desire to represent and give everything to your team. That's the real positive thing from the game. You want the great rivalries, in many ways that’s what the professional game is built on."

Cormac Foley crosses for the only try

After such a physical and high-intensity contest against the Sharks, Cullen was pleased with his how players fronted up six days later at the Sportsground.

Leinster were up against plenty of old faces, including the excellent Josh Murphy who was one of four players to move west during the summer, but their defence stood up at key moments, particularly at the end of the first half when Connacht's maul was twice denied.

"We were pleased with how we dug in defensively," said Cullen. "We had to defend a couple of different sets at different stages where we were five metres from our tryline. That's the pleasing part.

"It's one of those games where you take the four points, get back on the bus and go again. It’s a short turnaround. We had a very physical game last week, another physical game today. In many ways we’re just managing bodies at the moment.

"We talk about our old Leinster guys. Josh Murphy was wearing the scars of battle. I can’t speak highly enough of him. He came through the academy. He's a doctor, believe it or not. I'm dreading the day I turn up and he’s there at the operating table! Just a brilliant character. It was great to see him going well down here."

Ireland trio Jack Conan, James Ryan and Josh van der Flier all picked up knocks but Cullen expects they will be available for next Saturday’s game against Munster at the Aviva Stadium.

Cullen’s counterpart Andy Friend was pleased with his side’s physicality against the league leaders but once again frustrated by their lack of accuracy inside the opposition 22.

"It was an even contest with the physicality, I was really proud of our blokes," said Friend. "They were immense out there with their intent and their desire, to get bodies in front and do damage.

"What we didn’t win was the clinical battle and that’s where quality sides like Leinster hurt you. As much as you front up physically, if you don’t take your chances, they’ll take theirs. That’s what they did tonight."

Connacht were denied a losing bonus point by Ciaran Frawley’s late penalty but Friend admitted they had only themselves to blame after butchering a number of scoring chances.

"We don’t want to be the footy team that loses 10-0 and are proud of that because it’s Leinster," he said.

"We’re proud of the effort but we’re not pleased with the result. We left so many chances out there.

"I do think and know that our performances are getting better with every game, but that’s another loss for us.

"We’re one [win] from five at the minute. We’ve got two big games to finish this block and it’s important we get wins there."

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow the BKT United Rugby Championship across RTÉ radio, TV, RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app.

Watch Leinster v Munster in the BKT United Rugby Championship on 22 October on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, and listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra