Waiting game for Schmidt's troops

20th Jan 2013, 11:56

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Bonus-point try: Jamie Heaslip

Bonus-point try: Jamie Heaslip

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt faces an anxious wait after the 29-20 Heineken Cup victory over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

Two-time defending champions Leinster defeated Exeter 29-20 on Saturday to stay alive in the Heineken Cup, but they face a nailbiting Sunday which could doom their hopes of a fourth title in five years.

The Irish side finished second in Pool 5 behind runaway leaders Clermont and can only make the quarter-finals by claiming the remaining best runners-up spot after Montpellier booked their last-eight place earlier in the day.

Leinster had trailed Exeter 17-12 at the interval after converted tries from Neil Clark and a penalty try helped edge the visitors' scores from Gordon D'Arcy and Rob Kearney.

Brian O'Driscoll then brought Leinster level before Jamie Heaslip's try earned a bonus point victory.

Leinster finished their group campaign with 20 points, but Irish rivals Munster can deny them a quarter-final spot if they score four tries and beat Racing Metro on Sunday in Pool 1 where Saracens are also expected to qualify by beating Edinburgh.

"We are where we are. We can't control anything else that happens. There certainly won't be any celebrating from us because we know that Munster have a real target," Schmidt said.

"That is one of the advantages of playing on the Sunday as they know clearly what they have to chase. They'll clearly work really hard and make sure that they get as close to that as possible against Racing.

"We knew how tough it was going to be to come here and get the five
points, which was the minimum we required.

"I thought we were really good for it, and the quality of our tries was first rate, but I have a lot of respect for Exeter as well."

Exeter counterpart Rob Baxter, whose side led 17-12 at half-time, added: "Last week we were beaten by Clermont in a game where we controlled possession and territory for quite long periods, but all of a sudden we seemed to concede a try. That happened to us a bit today but I think we managed to ride those moments a bit more."