Leo Cullen Believes More Leinster Players Can Step-Up

Leo Cullen is confident his side can claim victory against Dragons and continue their march to the Guinness Pro14 final.

Defending Pro14 champions Leinster travel to Wales this Friday to face the Dragons in their home ground of Rodney Parade.

“There’s the same amount of points up for grabs when you’ve got two sets of full squads and international’s littered throughout the team” declared Cullen.

“I think fans like seeing this new young players getting a chance to come through, in a ways it a beauty of the competition that it allows young players get a chance”.

“When you look at the Ireland squad at the moment, and 16 out of 24 players are Leinster, they’re be a lot of guys saying I wouldn’t mind taking on Leinster” laughed Cullen.

“We’ve tried to work away in the background here, particularly with the academy players and make sure they can make the step-up”.

Cullen has handed a first time start to both Byrne brothers Ross and Harry, Harry starts at out-half, with Ross at inside-centre alongside the returning Rory O’Loughlin.

A total of 16 Leinster players are included in Andy Farrell’s Ireland Squad; however Farrell has released Ryan Baird, Ross Byrne and Jack Conan for this game.

“I think it’s a very fine margin when it comes to some of the selection calls with Ireland” explained Cullen, believing more of his Leinster squad and make the step-up”.

“Classic example is Rhys Ruddock who started his first game in the six nations (against France). I was shocked when I read that, I couldn’t believe it!” explained Cullen.

“Rhys is a very consistent player and a leader in our group, Luke (McGrath) is a player that follows on like Rhys and hopefully whenever the next call-ups come along, Luke will be propelled along to make the step-up.”

The defending champions have a much better standing and currently hold the top spot in the table, four points ahead of second-place Ulster, having only recorded a single loss this season.

Dragons have recorded a series of consecutive losses from their past few PRO14 games and currently sit in second last place of Conference Table A as a result.

Four Dragons players are currently with the Wales team that is preparing to face England next week.

Leinster managed to record a comprehensive win over the Dragons when they met in the RDS earlier in the competition, that game ended on a score-line of 35-5.