Leinster take control

19th Dec 2010, 18:11

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Opportunistic try: Sean O'Brien grabs Leinster's third

Opportunistic try: Sean O'Brien grabs Leinster's third

Leinster were convincing 24-8 winners over Clermont on Saturday, taking control of Pool Two of the Heineken Cup in the process.


Leinster were convincing 24-8 winners over Clermont in Dublin on Saturday, taking control of Pool Two of the Heineken Cup in the process.

The result takes the Irish side five points clear of Clermont and Racing Metro with two rounds remaining.

In arguably their best performance of the tournament so far, the former European champions outscored the current French champions three tries to one with prop Cian Healy grabbing a brace.

Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession, Clermont rarely threatened the Leinster line. In contrast, the home side always looked dangerous with ball in hand as they took revenge for last week's loss in the Auvergne.

In a game characterised by a massive contest at the rucks, Leinster made better use of their opportunities as Brian O'Driscoll and Isa Nacewa provided the spark from the backs while Richardt Strauss and Sean O'Brien carried the ball well up front, with the latter being rewarded with a second-half try.

A stunned Clermont then conceded a third try after throwing the ball into touch with an errant pass just five metres from their own line.

Jamie Heaslip took a quick throw and caught the French side napping as two quick passes resulted in O'Brien diving over for his third Heineken Cup try, with Sexton's conversion making it a comfortable 24-3.

Comfortable was how it stayed until ten minutes from time, when Clermont seemed roused by some off-the-ball argy-bargy to launch a powerful drive enabling winger Nalaga to dive over after the rolling maul had initially been held up on the line.

Clermont could not build on that try in the closing stages and Leinster saw the game out comfortably but themselves had a few chances to grab an important fourth try bonus point.

Man of the match: It's tough to argue with two tries so our gong goes to Cian Healy, who gave the local fans plenty to cheers about as the Aviva Stadium finally saw the kind of atmosphere that had once made Lansdowne Road famous.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Healy 2, O'Brien
Cons: Sexton 3
Pen: Sexton

For Clermont:
Try: Nalaga
Pen: Parra

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Jason Harris-Wright, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Clint Newland, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Shaun Berne, 23 David Kearney.

Clermont: 15 Benoît Baby, 14 Napolioni Nalaga, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Gavin Williams, 11 Julien Malzieu, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Thibaut Privat, 4 Julien Pierre, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Mario Ledesma, 17 Lionel Faure, 18 Clément Ric, 19 Loic Jacquet, 20 Elvis Vermeulen, 21 Alexandre Audebert, 22 Kevin Senio, 23 Tasesa Lavea.

Venue: Aviva Stadium
Referee: Nigel Owens