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VIDEO: Leinster defends 'transient' squad system

Leinster continue their dream to add a fifth star to their logo when they face Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup semifinal at Páirc an Chrócaigh, in Dublin, on Saturday.


Having won Europe’s premier prize four times – 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2018 – they have four Euro stars above their logo.

The stars represent how many Champions Cup titles the Irish province has won.

Leinster logo with Euro stars

However, they head into the sharp end of the 2024 season following two heavy losses – having sent a two-bit squad to South Africa and keeping their frontline players in cotton wool back in Dublin.

This approach drew harsh criticism from the acrid United Kingdom and Irish media when the Bulls did it earlier in the season.

Leinster’s attack coach Kieran Hallett sang from the same hymn sheet as Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White did.


Hallett admitted it is a ‘challenge’ to compete in two major competitions, but said they aim to win both the URC and Champions Cup.

“At some ‘sticky point’ in the season you have to make some decisions on section,” Hallett said, adding: “We are not prioritising the one over the other.

“However, is it viable to play the same group five weeks in a row when they are all big games?

“That is the conversation we have to have and the decision we must make.”


He said two years ago they had a similar experience on their tour to South Africa, when centre Jamie Osborne accompanied the team as a fresh-faced 20-year-old.

Now he is a regular starter, including a significant contribution in their 40-13 quarterfinal demolition of the two-time defending champion Stade Rochelais.

He is also in the mix to start in the semifinal.

(WATCH Leinster’s attack coach Kieran Hallett defends the decision to send a two-bit squad to South Africa….)

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“Jamie [Osborne] is in a much better position to deal with those big games, having gone through what he went through here [in South Africa] two years ago,” the skills coach said.

Hallett said their squad is ‘very transient’ at the moment.

“This isn’t the only time of the year that group [of players] are in and out,” he said of their international stars – who are on duty with Ireland in November and during the Six Nations in February and March.

“They are split [apart] for a good chunk of the year,” Hallett said of the two-squad system.

“It is something, internally, we are more used to than people externally understand.”

He pointed out that World Cup-winning Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber was with the Leinster squad in Cape Town till Tuesday last week, before flying back to Ireland.

Their preparations for the semifinal started last week already.


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