Johnny Sexton: Leinster have turned a corner

3:58 PM GMT

Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton believes Leinster are back to their best after another dominant display in the European Cup on Friday.

After their worst European campaign in their history last season where they lost twice at home and ended up at the bottom of their group, Leinster have rediscovered their mojo with massive wins over Northampton (60-13) in December and Montpellier (57-3) on Friday to secure their place in the last eight with a game to spare.

“This is a great place to be again – we have turned the corner. Last season was disappointing in more ways than one and it is great to be back, and getting the RDS buzzing again,” Sexton told EPC Rugby.

Leinster made the most of a numerical advantage against Montpellier after Frans Steyn was given a red card for a high tackle on Sexton in the 26th minute. Sexton was forced from the field momentarily but after passing a concussion test he returned to help Leinster run in eight tries.

“It was a pretty good performance, although going down to 14 didn’t really help them. We had a plan to play at a high tempo and we came out and played into a pretty strong breeze in the first half and that forced our hand.

“It felt like a forward when Frans hit me. When I looked back at the incident on TV I expected it to be one of their back rowers,” admitted Sexton.

“I know Frans well and he’s a good guy. It looked as though I was ducking down into it a little bit, so it could have been accidental. But with these new laws you can’t afford to be reckless.

“It was probably a yellow card before, but now it’s a red. I felt for him because he’s not a dirty player.”

Sexton heaped praise on assistant coach and former England mentor Stuart Lancaster for Leinster’s performances of late.

“It’s not by accident that you see everyone wanting to get the ball in their hands. Stuart Lancaster has come in and had a big influence on the style of rugby.

“This is the stuff we practice every day in training, the unstructured part of our game. We spend time on our off-loading game, so it’s not by chance or a fluke – it is being worked on every day.

“Stuart has had a great influence on us and the whole organisation and it is a great place to be again. You could see the crowd at the end – that’s why we’ve got to perform next week and bring a quarter-final home to these supporters.”

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