Rugby Cullen warns his young guns their ‘manhood’ will be tested in Lyon

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Rugby 22 November 2019; James Lowe, left, and Robbie Henshaw of Leinster on their arrival in Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup match against Lyon on Saturday. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
22 November 2019; James Lowe, left, and Robbie Henshaw of Leinster on their arrival in Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup match against Lyon on Saturday. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

As Leo Cullen sees it, this is a rite of passage for any Leinster player. If you can prove your worth away from home in France, then you’ve taken another step on the ladder.

They are surrounded by experience, but for Max Deegan and Rónan Kelleher this is a first Champions Cup involvement in France, while Josh Murphy will make his European debut off the bench.

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Rugby Caolin Blade will be in command from scrum-half as Connacht bid for back-to-back victories against French opposition. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile


Caolin Blade will be in command from scrum-half as Connacht bid for back-to-back
victories against French opposition. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

The trio have ticked every box so far this season, impressing when the internationals were away at the World Cup; with Kelleher in prolific try-scoring form and Deegan upping his work-rate to match his precocious ability.

Along with Caelan Doris, who would no doubt be involved were it not for injury, they are pushing themselves into the Ireland picture.

Lyon may be a relatively new face on the European scene, but they are top of the Top 14 and have picked a formidable team. After losing the corresponding fixture to Toulouse last season, Leinster are on guard.

“It will be a great step up for them in terms of their development,” Cullen said as he looks to his on-field leaders to guide the new boys through.

“That’s the piece that we always have to get through. You’ve got to pick them for the games. You talk about guys coming through, they play for the PRO14 team, then play for the European team and if you go well in that scenario it’s not long before guys go on and play for Ireland.

“This is why you get involved in the game. We love the home games, but when you go to France it’s a bit more of a test of our manho

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