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League’s improved so much says Grand Final boss

Guinness PRO12 Editor

29 May 2010

Michael Cheika will sign off after five years with Leinster later today believing that the Magners League is a much better competition now than when he first moved to Ireland.

Cheika departs for Parisian giants Stade Francais after this evening’s Magners League Grand Final having been based in Dublin since 2005.

The Australian has seen the league come on leaps and bounds in that time and has no doubt that the competition will continue to move onwards and upwards.

“The standard of the Magners League’s improved without a doubt,” said Cheika, who is hoping to guide Leinster to a third trophy in as many seasons following Magners League glory in 2008 and continental triumph a year later.

“You can see it by the way the teams have performed in Europe; their selection in international teams and for the Lions.

“The quality of play every week is really tough. That’s not just with the teams who are near the top of the league but also by the sides that are lower down – they’ve lifted their standards.

“I know that for us, of the five league games we’ve lost this year, we’ve had two rotation days and the other three we’ve lost to the bottom three teams. That standard’s been lifted and that’s been good for the league.

“I’m also a fan of the Play-Offs. It helps in a season like ours, where we’re missing players in certain parts of the year and it gives a fair result at the end.”

While much has been made of Cheika’s imminent departure, the man himself insists it hasn’t been the subject of conversation within the Leinster camp.

Instead, the focus has been purely on this evening’s match up with the Ospreys – a clash in which victory would be just reward for a season’s worth of hard work.

“It is my last game with Leinster and we’ve obviously known that from a long way out. But there hasn’t been much sentimentality, to be honest,” added Cheika.

“It’s been about getting ready for what is the biggest game of the season for us. There’s an opportunity for us to put another building block in place and we’ve got to make sure we take it.

“This is what all the teams in the league have played for. We’ve very realistic about how difficult the match is going to be. We’re looking forward to it but we know we’re going to have to be at our absolute best from a team’s perspective to win it.

“That’s what the team’s worked for all year and that’s what our supporters have followed us for – we just want to make sure we represent our province well.”