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Play-offs good for the game says Leo Cullen

By David Kelly

For the third time in five seasons, Leinster finished top of the Pro12 table, but Leo Cullen fully favours the play-off system.

Cullen, who could well play his final game in a Leinster jersey tonight, before embarking on his coaching career with the province, believes the rewards for finishing in first place are enough motivation for teams.

"I'm a fan of the play-offs, particularly the way it works in the Pro12. If you get a home semi, it's not like it's a neutral final – it's also at home," Cullen mused.

"There is plenty of incentive there and it's as much a reward for your own fans who don't have to travel. They have better access to the games – that is plenty of reward in many ways."

A Saturday evening kick-off at a packed RDS; the stakes don't come much higher than an Irish semi-final derby and, as Cullen himself commented, it heightens the sense of occasion.

"The semi-finals and finals are big occasions so they (play-offs) are important. We have almost gone past that argument.

"Play-offs are good for the game because it creates these big occasions and there is enough incentive for teams to finish higher up the ladder. There is going to be even more incentive with the qualification for the new European format. That makes it a bit more challenging.

"All the games will carry some sort of significance coming into the latter rounds I would imagine."

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