Cullen hoping Henry insight can lead Leinster to title

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

29 Aug 2016

©INPHO/Gary Carr

Sir Graham Henry’s influence at Leinster is still being felt even after his departure from a short-term coaching role at the province, this summer.

The World Cup winning coach joined the Boys in Blue for a two-week period earlier this month, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge that Leo Cullen hopes will help Leinster reclaim the Guinness PRO12 title.

Sir Graham may have only been in Ireland for two weeks, but Cullen said plenty of work had also been done in preparation for the Kiwi’s arrival.

“It was fantastic for me,” said Cullen. “By the time he arrived we’d spent two or three months in regular contact, talking about a lot of our games from last season.

“I’d sent him a lot of footage and there were a lot of discussions on that process in particular that I found that gave me a lot of clarity on the game.

“He has more years coaching experience than I have years lived so he really has such a depth of knowledge of the game and is able to break things down into very simplistic language as well.

“By the time he arrived we’d been able to break down what the objectives for his trip were.

“He really adds to the coaches here and the intellectual property will hopefully filter down to the players as well.”

While Sir Graham’s work with Leinster was always planned to be short-term, the Leinstermen will also be losing key defence coach Kurt McQuilkin after the Kiwi decided to move home due to family reasons.

As a result, Cullen is on the lookout for a new coach but insists he will not be rushed into an appointment.

“It was great to have Kurt back for the time he was here and he was torn apart by the decision of what to do and what’s best and our thoughts are with him and his family,” added Cullen.

“We’ve talked about a few people who could come in but Kurt will definitely be a loss for us. He’s here for the next couple of weeks so we’ll have something in place before long.

“It’s important that there’s a really strong tie, we have a fair few players who work under Andy Farrell with Ireland.

“We want to get somebody who will add to the group so we’re not going to rush to get somebody.”

Looking ahead to the playing season, which begins for Leinster on Friday, against Benetton Treviso at the RDS, Cullen is excited by the prospect of a Guinness PRO12 Grand Final at the Aviva Stadium, in May.

“They are great days that the players remember but they are made special by the supporters out on the day,” added the former Ireland international.

“We need to navigate our way through the 22 Guinness PRO12 games that go through to May.”

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