Follow us: the42.ie Share Tweet Email Short URL Saturday 14 Jan 2017, 7:00 AM Jan 14th 2017, 7:00 AM 24 Comments http://the42.ie/3186333 Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHOOVER THE CHRISTMAS period, with chunks of his playing staff being lifted in and out of his watch at various points, Leo Cullen only wanted to see his team get a chance to get into a rhythm.Last night’s 57 -3 win over a powerful Montpellier side – albeit just 14 of them for 54 minutes – felt like the culmination of a lot of the young coach’s work. Cullen’s team set about Montpellier in tune, in time and at an allegro tempo that was too much for the visitors to handle even with a full set of 15 on the field. It was shaping up to be the best performance of the former lock’s tenure in charge.With eight tries on the board, perhaps it can still hold that title that, but Frans Steyn’s 26th minute red card ended the match as a contest with the score 14 – 3. From there on in, it was a matter of what style the win would take rather then if it could be achieved. Jonathan Sexton whips a pass away before Frans Steyn’s high tackle. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO“It’s great to score that amount of tries against a team like that,” Cullen said post-match, though a sense of sympathy for Montpellier was never far away.“The red card does distort it a little bit, but it was pleasing in the first 20 minutes.”He added: “I thought the lads showed really good intent — we wanted to play at pace and when you have that intent to play at pace you see the rewards later in the game.“The red card changes the dynamic of the game drastically. Guys were playing well up until that point. They scored good tries early on. 14,184 Views By Sean Farrell Conan power, Isa magic and a red card see Leinster cruise past Montpellier into 1/4 finalsLong lay-offs for Copeland and Arnold but Munster optimistic on O’Donnell ‘A red card distorts it a bit, but it was pleasing in the first 20 minutes’ — Cullen Leo Cullen refused to waste much time patting his team on the back after their eight-try thrashing of Montpellier. JP Doyle issues a red to Steyn. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO“Montpellier came with a lot of intent to play as well, which probably got them in trouble when they were down to 14 men. But guys stuck to the task very well, which was pleasing.”‘Pleased’ and ‘satisfied’ was about as far as Cullen was willing to go in patting his side on the back. But the energy of the opening quarter and the vicious manner in which they piled on five second half tries were a throwback to Leinster’s European nights under Joe Schmidt. Not unlike the Ireland coach, Cullen refuted the suggestion that everything had gone according to plan before Steyn saw red and instead flicked through the ‘work-ons’ in his head for next week. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO“The unstructured part of the game was pleasing… there were a couple of times we got ourselves into trouble. Montpelier went hard at the ruck, we got turned over a couple of times. Frans Steyn missed an early penalty and scored another one off turnovers.“We were turned over at the ruck maybe five times off the top of my head. We knew that would be an area they’d target. So we need to be more accurate in that area.“Castres will have similar issues for us next week. They’ve been going well at home so we need to make sure we’re on point over there.” Source: James Crombie/INPHOA win in Castres will secure a home quarter-final for Leinster to take to the Aviva Stadium in the spring. The instigator of so much first-half magic, Isa Nacewa, should be fit for the trip despite leaving the field just two minutes after half-time.“Isa had a dead leg. He got a bang midway through the first half,” explains the head coach.“You could see him limping around a bit – though it didn’t affect his performance too much. After half-time then, close-to-freezing conditions is not great for dead legs.“You could see him struggling in the first few minutes of the second half. It’s a nice luxury to have Rob Kearney on the bench, he came on and did well. Other guys seemed to come through okay.”That includes Jonathan Sexton who rattled through a very quick head injury assessment after being caught by Steyn’s swinging arm. Cullen says the main concern had been for the out-half’s neck, but he left the field in the second half without exacerbating the issue.Robbie Henshaw “felt some tightness” and was replaced by flanker Dan Leavy.“Dan’s been pushing to play on the wing,” joked Cullen. It was a night when he had every reason to smile.The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us!