Leo Cullen needs to shift focus to attack if Leinster are to end final pain


Champions Cup defeat against Toulouse was another near miss with the time right to obsess slightly less on their defence

In 2022 it was the Boulevard Michelet in Marseille. Last year it was Lansdowne Road in Dublin. On Saturday evening it was the slightly grittier backdrop of Tottenham High Road, but the post-match pain on the faces of Leinster supporters was wearily familiar. Three points, one point, an extra-time defeat: the margins are desperately slim but the sense of deja vu is growing stronger.

Mix in Ireland's World Cup quarter-final loss to the All Blacks and the so-near-yet-so-far pattern is impossible to ignore. Irish rugby still boasts plentiful talent but the uncomfortable losses are stacking up. As Leo Cullen, Leinster's director of rugby, acknowledged afterwards, not all the post-mortems will be sympathetic. "The lads are going to need to show a bit of character now," he said. "You get a sense of what's coming ... you lose another final and we've got to be able to deal with that."

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