Leinster coach 'unbelievably excited' about SA teams in URC

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

While having South African franchises move to the Northern Hemisphere after years of Super Rugby wasn't to everyone's liking, it seems that others fully support the change.

One of those people is Leinster head coach Leo Cullen.

Speaking to the media after his top-of-the-table side lost 20-13 to the Stormers at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, Cullen said he was "unbelievably excited" about the arrival of the South African teams in the United Rugby Championship. 

"The big thing from Leinster's view – speaking on behalf of the club – we are unbelievably excited with the arrival of the four South African teams, the 'Big Four', as we call them," Cullen said.

Cullen believes that the South African teams only make the tournament better.

"It's a real shot in the arm for the tournament. We will hopefully have some great battles over the next few years," he added.

Leinster sent an understrength side with a host of young players to South Africa for clashes against the Sharks and Stormers and will be pleased that the games were close despite losing both fixtures.

Cullen feels that the Stormers, too, have excellent young talent. 

He praised the Varsity Cup as well, saying that while in South Africa, he had watched a few games. 

"The Stormers have some good young talent here as well. I watched some of the Varsity Cup on TV over the last 10 days, and there is a rich reservoir of talent here," he said.

Cullen says that the URC has a bright future, partly thanks to the quality the Lions, Sharks, Stormers and Bulls bring to it. 

"We just have a huge amount of excitement for the future of this tournament because of the quality you have down here," said Cullen.

"The rugby is all around you. People are constantly interested in the team and the games.

"There looks like there will be a fair South African flavour in the playoffs, so there could be some great battles ahead."

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