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Cullen keen for Leinster to build up momentum ahead of play-offs

 

By Ruaidhri O'connor

This is the season's twilight zone for Leinster. Europe ended in disappointment last Sunday and their next match of any real consequence takes place in three weeks' time when they host a Guinness PRO12 semi-final, so between now and then it's all about keeping the show going.

Leo Cullen will rest most of those who started in Lyon when Leinster exited the Champions Cup against Clermont Auvergne.

Tonight they welcome a Glasgow Warriors team who can't qualify for the post-season, but are securely in the European top tier for next year.

So, there's little to play for at the RDS which should ensure both teams at least have a go.

For Cullen, it is all about gaining momentum so that they can hit the ground running when results matter again.

"These two weeks are short," he said. "We came back Sunday, we were in Monday doing the review (of the Clermont loss).

"It is painful, it is tough for everyone to go through but it is important that we try to learn some lessons.

"Players have come back in, had a bit of time, because there is a very short prep leading to this game. It is trying to get the balance between trying to make sure we have got guys fully motivated going into the game and putting a performance together.

"Everyone wants to get back because after a loss there is good windows for guys because if they play well we have Ulster next week though, unfortunately, then there is another break but we will still train that week.

"There is a lot at stake and it comes around very quickly."

Clermont exposed some defensive flaws that they had been previously aware of.

If Glasgow - and Ulster next week - pose similar questions it should steel Leinster for their end-of-season trophy hunt.

On their last regular-season home game, Mike Ross will bid farewell while Dominic Ryan is likely to be saying goodbye too as he heads for a likely exit. Cullen confirmed that no new deal has been agreed with the flanker, who is likely to head to England.

Isa Nacewa, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath, Tadhg Furlong and Devin Toner are among those given the weekend off, with Ross Molony named captain for the first time and Nick McCarthy handed his first start at scrum-half.

It should be fast and loose.

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