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In for the long haul, Leinster's Joe McCarthy wants to 'rip into it'

Leinster can use their trip to South Africa to bond as they bid for a first trophy in three years, says Joe McCarthy.

Around 45 players, management and backroom staff are on Monday making their way to the Rainbow Nation ahead of Saturday's BKT URC semi-final against Bulls (3pm, live on RTÉ).

Speaking after their 43-20 win over Ulster on Saturday, head coach Leo Cullen asked what was most likely a rhetorical question to the assembled media looking for any tips on how to book a long haul flight for a sizeable party at short notice.

"It's a very unusual dynamic," he said as the beaten Champions Cup finalists face into a first URC away play-off game since the more straightforward jaunt to Celtic Park for the 2019 final.

"I don't want to bore you about the dynamics of how airlines do/don't operate on the weekend, but there is multiple moving parts.

"I don't know if you've booked many trips for 45 people on a Saturday night? If anyone has any advice?

"I don't know [when we leave], the bags are packed. We'll be setting sail all right. Maybe we'll go on a boat."

As awkward as the two-way trip will be, more so if they win and have to play a final on Saturday week, they find themselves at this juncture because of decisions made during the season.

Normally positioned top of the table, Leinster finished third, three points behind Munster and one behind Bulls.

Opting to send a second-string outfit to South Africa in April for games against Lions and Stormers, they came back without even a bonus point to their name.

A couple of weeks later they turned down a close-range penalty at goal against Ulster that would have given them a four-point lead. Ultimately, Ulster scored a late winner.

But, as Munster proved last season when going on an away run