Leinster Rugby head coach Leo Cullen has admitted his frustration after his side were beaten 28-27 by Toulouse in last weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool 1 clash.
The defeat ended a run of 10 Heineken Champions Cup victories in a row for the Irish province, including last season’s Champions Cup final win over Racing 92 in Bilbao.
Leinster’s loss to the fellow four-time champions also meant they were replaced at the head of Pool 1 by Toulouse, who have picked up eight points from their opening two matches.
“It’s frustrating for us,” Cullen told BT Sport after the defeat at Stade Ernest-Wallon on Sunday.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 22, 2018
“It was an unbelievable occasion. The crowd and the atmosphere there were amazing, two sets of players going hard at it.
“For us, we probably lacked a little bit of control in the first 20 minutes of the game, which allowed Toulouse to build that 14-point lead.
“The lads fought back well, but we were probably just a little bit too inaccurate over the course of the 80 minutes.
“That’s the threat that they [Toulouse] have, an unbelievably dangerous team with so much pace.
“They make a good read on an intercept and it comes off. Some unbelievably good hands and skills from them to finish in the corner and they knock over the conversion from the sideline as well. It’s good play by them.”
"Toulouse are sitting pretty on top and suddenly we’re the team that has to chase somebody else now.”
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) October 22, 2018
However, the 40-year-old Irishman – who last season became the first person to win the European Cup as a player and a coach – was pleased with his side’s battling qualities after conceding two early tries.
“Fighting back from 14-0 down is always good. We got ourselves back into a situation where we looked in control of the game – ultimately it wasn’t [to be],” Cullen added.
“It’s a tough place to come here and Toulouse are a very good team. They’re on the rise.
“There’s still a hell of a lot of rugby to be played in this pool. For us now there’s obviously going to be a bit of a break [in the Champions Cup].
“Toulouse are sitting pretty on top and suddenly we’re the team that has to chase somebody else now.”