Belfast Telegraph

Game management cost us: Cullen

Scarlets 23-21 Leinster

Red faced: Rhys Ruddock scored in loss to Scarlets
Red faced: Rhys Ruddock scored in loss to Scarlets
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has urged his men to quickly find some consistency and deliver an 80-minute display after they were beaten by the Scarlets.

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As they had done in their last-gasp opening-day win at Cardiff Blues, the defending Guinness PRO14 and European champions played in fits and starts in Llanelli, but this time they came up short against a team that they had got the better of, in most of the crucial moments of last season.

Cullen was forced to settle for a losing bonus point despite watching on as his team managed to score three tries to the Scarlets' two via Fergus McFadden, James Lowe and Rhys Ruddock.

Now he's demanding an improvement. "I'm a bit frustrated," Cullen said.

"We didn't manage the game or execute well enough when we had Scarlets on the ropes and they are a good team, so we let them back into it.

"We managed to get over a slow start where I thought the Scarlets had a lot of pressure on us and there were a few early questionable decisions on the try line.

"The Scarlets had a man in the bin at the start of the second half, but we didn't manage that period particularly well."

Cullen's captain in Llanelli, Ruddock, added: "We won from behind in Cardiff and we left it late again here, but didn't manage to get over the line.

"We need to dust ourselves down for the Dragons.

"It was a shame we couldn't play for 80 minutes. We can't just expect things to happen for us."

Leinster were slow out of the blocks in both halves and it the end, it proved costly.

Now the focus turns to the Dragons, who will arrive at the RDS on Saturday.

It should represent a comfortable home win, with Cullen revealing he is set to recall some more big names.

Johnny Sexton could feature for the first time this season.

"How we managed the game in the 25 minutes or so at the start of the second half is what cost us," said Cullen.

"We just had a bit of a mental lapse after going into the break with the ascendancy.

There is lots to work on and we know we can get a lot better.

"We've used a good few players already and we have some more guys to come back into the equation for next week as well.

"We've had two very difficult fixtures away in Wales and we've got six points.

"We're disappointed, but now the focus is on the Dragons which will be a totally different challenge for us back at the RDS."

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