Stuart Lancaster has vowed to return Leinster Rugby to their former glories having joined their coaching setup this week – starting with a return to Europe’s top sides.
The former England head coach has joined Leo Cullen in the Leinster hierarchy ahead of round two of the Guinness PRO12 season, after the 2014 champions edged out Benetton Treviso 20-8 on the opening weekend at the RDS Arena.
But that success, more than two years ago, marks the last major trophy for Leinster, European Champions Rugby Cup winners in 2009, 2011 and 2012, who had been making trophy accumulation a frequent habit.
And, after finishing Guinness PRO12 runners-up on four occasions since 2010, Lancaster is determined to write the wrongs of recent years, which also saw the province finish second to Connacht last season.
Having spent a lot of time watching sides from across the Irish Sea, the 46-year-old is confident that Leinster have the potential to challenge with the very best, and has now called on his new side to fulfil their capabilities in Europe and the Guinness PRO12 as well.
“I don’t think (Leinster are) very far away at all (from Europe’s elite),” he said.
“It is a very difficult competition to win. I know a lot about the English Premiership and I know a lot about Saracens, for example.
“I know a lot of the fundamentals that underpin that club. Leinster have got all the foundations in place. Why not? You look at the quality of the team, the coaching environment they’ve got.
“Clearly, when those European games come around, Leinster should have their best team on the field. That should be the target.
“That is not to say the PRO12 is not a target. Having got to the final only to lose, the burning desire is to win it this year.”
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