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Leinster's complacency can be seen in their team selection - Monday Night Rugby

Leinster should have started Johnny Sexton and Hugo Keenan against the Bulls.

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

20:58 13 Jun 2022



Irish Times journalist Gerry Thornley joined Monday Night Rugby to break down Leinster's loss to the Bulls.

Leinster's season ends without a trophy. Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster hoped to win the Champions Cup, but they expected to win the URC.

Instead, the inaugural title will reside in South Africa after Ulster and Leinster lost this past weekend. Ulster lost a close game on the road against a tough opponent. Leinster lost to a team they beat 31-3 earlier this season in a home semi-final. A team that had no South African squad members at the time.

Leinster of course had 13 Ireland internationals and would expect to compete with the Bulls using their second-string outfit.

Naturally, the question becomes how did Leinster lose. Maybe they just had a bad day. They made individual errors they don't normally make. But maybe they were complacent? Maybe those mistakes came from complacency? Gerry Thornley explained his reasoning for thinking Leinster could have done more when he was asked about the team's complacency.

"The first person to use the word [complacent] was Leo Cullen," Thornley said.

"And in denying it, it was clearly there in his head. He brought the word up. He also said he has to look at himself and I think they were 20-point favourites and 1/40 on to win the game, the Leinster supporters were very expectant of them to be in the final."

It's an obvious answer after a surprising loss. Instead of crediting the underdog, we blame the favourite for not taking the game seriously enough. Leinster's team talk wasn't relaxed. The players who took the field weren't doing so indifferently. But it's not just about the team talk or the mindset of the individuals on the field.

Leinster's complacency is in their team selection.

"Who am I to question the great brains trust of Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster, Felipe Contepomi et al. But if Johnny Sexton is fit to be on the bench, surely he's fit to start? You've got Leinster's greatest out-half of all-time and this is the second last season you get to use him. Why wouldn't you start him?

"I'm reliably informed Hugo Keenan was 24th man. And he could be seen running the full training session on the previous day, on the Thursday in the captain's run. Again, why would you start him?

"There is almost a hidden message in this. We're not going full tilt at this."

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Read more about

Felipe Contepomi Gerry Thornley Hugo Keenan Jonathan Sexton Leinster Rugby Leo Cullen Monday Night Rugby Stuart Lancaster

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