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Stuart Lancaster Made A Serious First Impression On Leinster's Players

Stuart Lancaster Made A Serious First Impression On Leinster's Players

One among many, Stuart Lancaster has nevertheless been repeatedly singled out for praise on Leinster's run to this evening's Champions Cup final tie with Racing 92.

Should the province see out a wonderful European campaign and win in Bilbao this afternoon, memories of the head coach who oversaw England's disastrous World Cup campaign in 2015 will all but be forgotten one feels.

Heralded by Leinster's players at any given opportunity, Lancaster, speaking to The Telegraph, offered some indication of where their belief in him stemmed.

Although Jamison Gibson-Park spoke openly of the horrors that Lancaster's rigorous training sessions induced initially, it has been carried out with the understanding the he walked into a team of winners.

Having been quietly recruited by Leo Cullen after the departure of Kurt McQuilkin, even Leinster's players were not aware of Lancaster's arrival until he was standing in front of them, delivering a lecture:

The staff saw me walk into the office with a Leinster shirt and two minutes later I was addressing 60 players and my opening line was, ‘I think we can do great things here.’

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Emerging at a low-ebb for the province, Lancaster, to the bemusement of certain players, "told them I thought we could win Europe."

Replete with power-point presentation and video clips of their recent games, Lancaster's arrival appears - from the outside at least - to have set off a chain-reaction that may come to fruition this evening in Bilbao.

For the likes of Isa Nacewa, the New Zealander who could pick up his fourth Champions Cup medal against Racing 92, Lancaster is "phenomenal, always challenging us. He has been massive for Leinster.”

A player who has worked under the likes of Michael Cheika and Joe Schmidt with the province, any doubts regarding Lancaster's ability to recover from the disappointment of 2015 may soon turn to concerns whether Cullen and his side can retain his services.

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Arthur James O'Dea

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