Rugby Leinster’s greatest competition comes from within squad as Cullen looks to extend winning run

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Rugby Leinster coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

These days, Leinster’s biggest rivals are housed within.

Whether it is the fringe players grappling desperately for a sustained presence on the European days that really matter or the coaching staff’s ongoing battle to quell even the merest sniff of complacency, there is hardly any dip in their relentless quest for perfection.

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Connacht will arrive with a severely weakened squad, out of kilter and out of form, but Leinster know that a year ago here they were put to the pin of their collar before emerging with a win thanks to Andrew Porter’s late try following 41 typically controlled phases.

Only a fortnight ago against Ulster, Leinster were brilliant for a half and then brutal for another; still, despite giving a lot of suckers an even break, they remain defiantly unbeaten and will stay so after this evening when they should replicate their early-season Galway romp.

And so the attention will really switch to the internal machinations of the squad as they bid to end their 13-week spin with the two European wins that will guarantee them a Champions Cup quarter-final date in the RDS next spring.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen reports that Jonathan Sexton may or may not return in time for one or both dates against Lyon or Montpellier.

In reality, he will not be required unless Andy Farrell, the incoming Irish coach, feels a competitive hit-out might suit

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