Leo Cullen highlights lingering benefits of last season's early Champions Cup exit

Leinster head coach fielded a very young team who defeated Wasps

Leo Cullen, Leinster, Champions Cup,

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen feels the experience received by the province's young players at the end of last season's European Champions Cup pool stage has been a benefit this campaign.

Leinster are into the semi finals of the competition after beating Premiership side Wasps and have put themselves within a victory (over Toulon or Clermont) of making it to the final. 

Eight of the Leinster starting XV were aged 24 or under and after an underwhelming European campaign in 2015-16, those experiences have proven to be a good learning curve for the players according to Cullen who was speaking to Newstalk's Dave McIntyre. 

"Definitely when you look back to last season's competition, one of the things when you're out after Round 4, it's a question of 'what can we salvage out of this competition?'" said Cullen of last year's campaign.

"We had six guys who made their European debuts in that home game against Bath in the RDS."

When asked if being able to provide experience to young players at the end of last season's pool stage was a benefit heading into this season's competition, Cullen responded "without a doubt", before continuing, "Plus all the work that goes into the Academy with a lot of Academy players fully involved at senior training over the course of the season and pre-season.

"There's a huge amount of work that goes into trying to bring those young guys through and they're working incredibly hard. So we're far from the finished product but guys are working in the right and positive direction, and there are a lot of things we can get better at which is something we're going to focus on over the next couple of weeks because it will be a huge challenge, whoever we have to go to in France."