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New Zealand's struggles could open the door for Irish: Cullen


By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen believes this year's World Cup is the most open tournament in years due to the vulnerabilities of the All Blacks.

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The former second-row, who played for Ireland in the 2011 World Cup, believes Ireland are among the teams who can go to the Land of the Rising Sun with confidence.

With just two weeks between the final and Leinster's opening Heineken Champions Cup game, Cullen will have to deal with the fall-out whatever happens, but is he hoping he will be welcoming back a coterie of players celebrating their achievements in Japan when they do return.

"It is how teams adapt in Japan. How teams adapt to the environment over there will play a big part in the ones that progress and the ones that don't," said Cullen.

"You can see with so many teams at the moment it's on the day, who gets their preparations right, the combinations, the selection and all the little bits.

"Ireland lost heavily when they had a red card in the first 20 minutes of a game. You see the red card and the impact it had on the game last Saturday (Australia v New Zealand).

"Wales were going to go to No.1 in the world if they had won at the weekend but they got beaten by England's, not quite second string but you get what I mean.

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"Australia beat New Zealand comfortably. It will be interesting to see how the Irish guys go when they play against England.

"There are lots of teams that can win the World Cup, genuinely win it, whereas I don't think that was the case in the past."

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