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Leinster lose after good start

Leinster 16-20 Toulon

By Staff Reporter

Published 21/12/2015

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen ahead of the European Champions Cup match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Leinster. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen ahead of the European Champions Cup match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 19, 2015. See PA story RUGBYU Leinster. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen felt Toulon's physical power was the difference at the Aviva Stadium as his side went down 20-16 - their fourth consecutive European Champions Cup defeat of the season.

The Irish province were unable to build on a 16-5 half-time lead, which was teed up by a penalty try and 11 points from Jonathan Sexton's boot, as Toulon ultimately proved too strong for the second week running.

Following up on last Sunday's 24-9 home success, the French giants picked up a penalty try and drove replacement hooker Anthony Etrillard over from a lineout maul, adding to their lone first half effort from man-of-the-match Juan Smith.

Although he saw a number of encouraging signs in Leinster's first half performance, Cullen believes they were outmuscled by the visitors after the restart.

"It was important that we try to build a lead. Unfortunately, we allowed Toulon to play too much at us in the second half, and we didn't manage our field position particularly well," said Cullen.

"That power, it does pay in the end. It was a tough day for us there. A lot of really good things in the first half. Second half, we just got outmuscled."

Cullen felt the decision by referee Wayne Barnes to award a 57th minute penalty try in Toulon's favour was 'a tough call' against the hosts.

"It looked like their tighthead was on the angle. We actually get a penalty for what looked like a pretty similar picture later in the game, but apart from that, the penalties (conceded by us) come from the pressure."

Toulon boss Bernard Laporte, whose side lies second behind pool leaders Wasps with a game in hand, was pleased to complete the double over Leinster.

"We have players with power, but the power is collective," he said. "We saw in the last 10 minutes in scrum, in maul, in the ruck, we are better than Leinster. Because I think Leinster tightened up in the last 30 minutes."

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