Planet Rugby

Leinster sink Wasps without trace

18th October 2008 19:19

Share:

Jeremy Staunton Luke Fitzgerald

Calm and collected: Jeremy Staunton tries to disrupt Luke Fitzgerald's efforts

15-11 to Leinster was the half-time score in Dublin on Saturday, and the game was finely-balanced. But Leinster produced a second half of utter brilliance to hammer Wasps 41-11, taking a bonus point and a decisive step in the direction of the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

This was Heineken Cup rugby at its best. The two sides combined to produce a first half of intense quality and pulse-quickening ebb and flow, and then in the second half one of the sides cranked it all up just one tiny notch further, with their opponents unable to respond. Leinster ran in four unanswered second-half tries, in utter defiance of anyone who said that Edinburgh made them look good last week. They are good, no question.

Right from the kick-off, it was on. Paul Sackey took the first phase off the restart, pinned back his ears, and set off down the blind side, chipping ahead and then taking Girvan Dempsey into the in-goal area for a 5m scrum. Two phases off the scrum, and Jamie Heaslip enacted a textbook steal at the tackle. Thrust and counter-thrust.

Five minutes later, Leinster had the lead. Tom Palmer, covering as some form of extra full-back, dropped a high ball. From the scrum, Felipe Contempomi grubbered through, Rob Kearney side-footed the ball with Fernando Torres-like coolness, and Brian O'Driscoll was on hand to dot down his second try in as many games after a long lean spell.

Danny Cipriani answered with a penalty, but there was no answer to O'Driscoll's next act. The man who would be Lions captain took the ball outside, beat his man, chipped the next man, chipped the extra cover on the fly, and regathered before touching down.

Wasps upped the pressure, and spent a good six minutes camped in Leinster's 22, but perhaps the intensity of Leinster's tackling and rucking in thsi period could have hinted at what was to come. One memorable hit by Luke Fitzgerald will be remembered by all but perhaps the recipient Riki Flutey.

At the end of the six minutes Wasps had a kickable penalty. They opted for the corner, had the ball manhandled off them, and then conceded two penalties of their own.

Cipriani was a lone star for Wasps at this time, but even his star faded when he opted to try and run through his backs in his own 22 but let the ball slip as he passed. Cue more Leinster pressure, cue another Leinster penalty, and cue a yellow card for an unimpressed Phil Vickery. Cue also a 15-3 lead, courtesy of Contempomi's boot.

Cipriani replied in kind after Leinster's defence had rushed up a little too enthusiastically, and made a magnificent break from the restart, with his supporting runners rather letting him down. He made two more breaks in the next two minutes, and eventually Jeremy Staunton capitalised on one of them to make it 15-11.

O'Driscoll did not emerge for the second half, and neither did Leinster captain Leo Cullen. Leinster under pressure? Their two leaders gone? Not a bit of it.

It took three minutes for Fitzgerald to register the opening score of the second half, three minutes in which Wasps were just blown away. They were muscled off every ball, smashed back at every contact, the backs ran lines, defenders were beaten or run over... Fitzgerald's finish was as easy as could be, there was nothing left of the shredded defence.

Jonathan Sexton had come on for O'Drsicoll, and as a result, Felipe Contempomi had moved to inside centre. What a lease of life it gave the Argentinian! Once he made a terrific break, and then flung too hard a pass out for Kearney. Two other times his breaks' results were thwarted only by desperate defence. So he took matters into his own hands, charging down Flutey's clearance and dotting down the bonus point try.

Leinster's forwards got in on the act, bulldozing their way through their opposite numbers, and after one particularly effective Bernard Jackman surge, Rocky Elsom picked and drove over the line.

The defence hustled the ball off Wasps for the sixth try, with Malcolm O' Kelly seizing on the spilled ball and galloping down the field before being hauled down short by Cipriani. Horgan was thwarted, but out the ball went to Kearney who strolled over with the Wasps defenders too demoralized and tired to retreat once more.

Man of the match: Shane Jennings made an astonishing 18 tackles during the match, and his fellow back-rowers got in on the act too. But Wasps had aimed up the middle, and in Luke Fitzgerald, they found an impreganble wall.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: O'Driscoll 2, Fitzgerald, Contempomi, Elsom, Kearney

Cons: Contempomi 4

Pen: Contempomi

For Wasps:

Try: Staunton

Pens: Cipriani 2

Yellow card: Vickery (30, Wasps, killing the ball), Toner (78, Leinster, late tackle)

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Luke Fitzgerald, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 CJ Van Der Linde, 2 Bernard Jackman 1 Stan Wright.

Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Devin Toner, 19 Stephen Keogh, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Johnny Sexton, 22 Gary Brown.

Wasps: 15 Jeremy Staunton, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Josh Lewsey, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Joe Worsley, 7 Tom Rees, 6 James Haskell, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Phil Vickery, 2 Raphael Ibanez (C), 1 Tim Payne.

Replacements: 16 Rob Webber 17 Pat Barnard, 18 Richard Birkett, 19 Serge Betsen, 20 Mark Robinson, 21 Mark Van Gisbergen, 22 John Hart.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Touch judges: Neil Ballard (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs Tasman19:35
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26