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Inspired Leinster Through To Final Eight

Sunday 15th January 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 15/01/2006 14:43

- 15/01/2006 14:43

Bath Rugby are through, but have a royal chance to finish as one of the top two qualifiers if they can beat Leinster at the Recreation Ground.
The Irish province have 17 points and they know they have to add to that in Bath to have any chance of making the next round.

If they can secure at least one bonus point, their 23 tries give them a great chance of sneaking into the play-offs. 

Will Green and Jamie Heaslip return to the Leinster squad for the match. 
In excess of 1,000 supporters are expected to travel from Ireland for the clash with hundreds more expected to make the game from around the UK.

“We’re going to be in better shape than the last time we played Bath and I am hopeful that Jamie Heaslip and Will Green will be right for this game. It is a great opportunity for us that we have a chance of qualifying, we knew that I would come down to this after looking the home game against Bath.  I don’t think it is a case of us playing for our season but there is no denying that we are playing for quarter final of an important cup competition,” said Leinster coach Micheal Cheika.
“You don’t get anything unless you work hard so I don’t think it is fair to say that we deserve a place on that basis, but if we work hard we reap what we sow. You have got to have trust in the players to play the game and to make the right decisions under pressure.”
“I have spoken before about Brian O’Driscoll and I have insider knowledge because I have had shoulder operations as a player…. Obviously I wasn’t as a good a player as he was… but I have been really happy with him. The missed tackles last weekend are nothing that I am worried about. Write that man off at your peril!”

Forwards (14):
Reggie Corrigan, Brian Blaney, Emmett Byrne, Will Green, Bryce Williams, Malcolm O’Kelly, Cameron Jowitt, Keith Gleeson, Niall Ronan, Jamie Heaslip, David Blaney, Ronan McCormack, Adam Byrnes, Eric Miller
Backs (10):
Guy Easterby, Felipe Contepomi, Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy, Brian O’Driscoll, Denis Hickie, Girvan Dempsey, Brian O’Riordan, Kieran Lewis, Robert Kearney

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Inspired Leinster Through To Final Eight

Sunday 15th January 2006

12:00 am (GMT)

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- 15/01/2006 14:43

- 15/01/2006 14:43

Leinster earned a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a fine win over Bath Rugby at the Recreation Ground in another classic European match.

Leinster had to win to clinch second spot in the Pool, and an inspired performance from the Irish side saw them destroy Bath’s 100 per cent record in the competition.

The English side – winners of the Heineken Cup in 1998 – had already secured qualification thanks to their run of five straight wins, but could not stop a determined Leinster side lead by the impressive Brian O’Driscoll.

O’Driscoll, in only his second game back since that infamous “spear tackle” incident on the British and Irish Lions tour, added a potency and spice to the Leinster backline that Bath simply had no answer to.

Leinster set their stall out early, Shane Horgan running in the first try of the match after just six minutes. 

Leinster underlined their superiority when outside half Filipe Contemponi scored a trademark interception try after 13 minutes, the Argentina international showing he still has a turn of speed as he galloped 40 metres to score under the posts.

The third try was simply brilliant running rugby by the Dubliners. The mercurial O’Driscoll darted through the tiniest of holes in the Bath defence on the half-way line, he jinked his way to the 22 before a one-two with Gordon D’Arcy. O’Driscoll then fed Will Green who dived over to extend the advantage.

Bath were on the ropes, their only points scoring coming from the boot of Olly Barkley.

Leinster flanker Keith Gleeson was magnificent, his ball carrying set up attack after and his tacking consistently turned defence into attack to steer his side into a 21-6 half time lead.

The second half continued in a similar vein to the first period, but Bath held out for 19 minutes before being breached again. Leinster’s fourth – and bonus point clinching try – was another O’Driscoll inspired piece of magic. Two dummies fooled the Bath defence, and a neatly timed pass put Share Horgan in at the corner. Contepomi added the extras.

It was champagne rugby from Leinster, and that man O’Driscoll scored his sides fifth try himself. O’Driscoll found yet another gap in the Bath defence, passed to James Heaslip, who returned the favour and all O’Driscoll had to do was run two metres to finish off another sweet move.

The home fans were given something to cheer about when they scored a fine try of their own after 75 minutes. Centre Andrew Higgins showed his goosestep to get past Denis Hickie. Higgens raced down the sideline and fed Micheal Stephenson who touched down. Chris Malone added the extras.

Matt Stevens’ 78th minute try meant the home side were now within an unconverted try of earning a bonus point for themselves, and in doing so securing a home draw for the quarter-finals.

The tension was unbearable, but Leinster held on to set up a mouth-watering tie against Toulouse.

Bath now have the unenviable task of tacking the Tigers at Welford Road.

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