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Leinster v Bath – Match Preview

Thursday 15th December 2011

12:00 am (GMT)

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Reigning champions

Reigning champions

Reigning champions, Leinster, will know a win over Bath would secure their position at the top of Pool 3 and put them in the driving seat for a Heineken Cup quarter-finals place.

The Dubliners, who were crowned European champions last season, came home with a 18-13 away win from the Recreation Ground in the first clash of the double-header between the sides.

Leinster, who lifted the Heineken Cup in 2009 and 2011, have moved the clash against the 1998 winners to the Aviva Stadium, the new home of Irish rugby, on Saturday evening.

The Irish province have an impressive home record and have won their last eight games in Dublin in the tournament, while Bath have lost their last three away games in Europe.

Bath, who last qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup in 2009, need to return home to the West country with a victory from their trip to Dublin if they are to keep their hopes of qualification alive.

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Leinster in seven heaven

Saturday 17th December 2011

12:00 am (GMT)

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Reigning champions Leinster know a victory in Glasgow over the Warriors will complete the first step of their defence of their Heineken Cup title on Sunday afternoon. - 13/01/2012 08:02

Reigning champions Leinster know a victory in Glasgow over the Warriors will complete the first step of their defence of their Heineken Cup title on Sunday afternoon. - 13/01/2012 08:02

Leinster demonstrated why they are the reigning Heineken Cup champions after dismantling Bath with seven tries to put one foot in the knockout stages.

The Dubliners surged into a 24-6 half-time lead following scores from Ireland trio Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald and Jonny Sexton.

And they opened the floodgates in the second-half with four more thanks to Fitzgerald, Eoin Reddan, Rhys Ruddock and Ian Madigan as Bath found themselves severely out of depth.

The English club did manage second-half  tries through Stephen Donald, David Attwood and Ben Williams but it was not enough as they European hopes came crashing down.

The victory sees Leinster go six-points clear at the top of Pool Three ahead of the final two rounds of group stage action next month.

Having already lost two out of their previous three matches in the Heineken Cup, Bath knew the result at the Aviva Stadium would make-or-break their European campaign

But it was Leinster, playing in front of a 46,365 Aviva Stadium crowd, that surged into the lead.

Sexton's penalty rebounded off the uprights but Leinster quickly regathered possession and it was Eoin Reddan's reverse pass that released Kearney for the try on four minutes.

Olly Barkley chipped away at the hosts' lead with penalties either side of a monster Sexton drop-goal and Leinster were dealt a blow after captain Leo Cullen was sent to the sin-bin.

But the Irish province grabbed a scintillating second try thanks to Luke Fitzgerald after World Cup winner Stephen Donald's loose pass was plucked from the reach of David Flatman by Devin Toner.

The lock beat two men before releasing Kearney who sliced through and slipped the try-scoring pass to Fitzgerald.
Sexton converted and then grabbed a breathtaking try of his own, tearing down the left wing after combining with Fitzgerald to hand his side a commanding lead at the interval.

It did not take long for Leinster to get the scoreboard ticking over again following the restart – 30 seconds to be precise.

As the ball was spread to Fitzgerald, who went outside lumbering cover defence and stepped Nick Abendanon to scorch clear for his second try.

Matters were made worse for Bath as Sam Vesty was sent to the sin-bin before Eoin Reddan got in on the act for Leinster with a trademark scrum-half's snipe at the base of a ruck to dot down.

Chris Biller quickly joined Vesty in the sin-bin as Bath were reduced to 13-men before replacement back-row forward Rhys Ruddock crashed over for a try of his own.

Bath eventually got back of the scoreboard as Donald barged through Eoin O'Malley to crash into the corner. They continued their mini-revival when David Attwood barged his way over for Bath's second try but it was too little too late for the English side.

Ian Madigan thought he had the last word with Leinster's seventh try on 78 minutes but Ben Williams touched down at the death to salvage some pride for the wounded visitors

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