Planet Rugby

Leinster secure home quarter-final

21st January 2011 19:40

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Sean O Brien leinster v racing metro

Sean O'Brien: Man-of-the-match performance for Leinster

Leinster showed their title credentials by smashing Racing Metro 36-11 on Friday, securing a crucial home quarter-final in the process.

The Irish side had already won Pool 2, but needed a fifth victory to guarantee a knock-out tie in Dublin and they duly secured it thanks to five tries.

That took their tally in six pool games to 21 tries and on this form the 2009 champions look to have every chance of regaining their crown.

Leinster looked dangerous every time they had possession in the Metro half and five tries was probably the least they deserved.

Their lines of attack, support play and perhaps most crucially their patience all proved too much for a Racing side which had previously lost just once at home in the last 12 months.

Juan Martin Hernandez put Metro ahead with an early penalty but after the Argentinian failed to find touch with a penalty, Leinster pounced.

After a spell of sustained pressure, Jonathan Sexton and Shane Horgan shipped the ball out wide and Isa Nacewa was in at the corner.

Hernandez missed a penalty on 13 minutes but from the re-start, Racing scored a try almost from nowhere, teenager Virimi Vakatawa collecting the drop-out and running through three tackles down the right touchline to score.

But that was the high point for the hosts. Moments later they tried to run out of their own 22, lost possession and Isaac Boss sent Sean O'Brien storming through by the posts.

O'Brien should have scored or set up a second try only to knock on five yards out, but it proved of no consequence as less than a minute later more brilliant handling put Sexton over.

An Hernandez penalty cut the deficit to 10 points at the break but a comeback never looked likely.

Sexton's penalty stretched the lead and just past the hour mark more clinical and patient build-up work saw Nacewa put Sexton in for his second try.

It only remained for birthday boy Brian O'Driscoll to get in on the act and he duly did 10 minutes from time, bursting through with a trademark darting run.

The scorers:

For Racing Metro:
Try: Vakatawa
Pens: Hernandez 2

For Leinster:
Tries: Nacewa, O'Brien, O'Driscoll, Sexton 2
Cons: Sexton 4
Pen: Sexton

Racing-Métro: 15 Dan Scarbrough, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Julien Saubade, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Nicolas Durand, 8 Alvaro Galindo, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Remi Vaquiin, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Santiago Dellape, 3 Scott Zimmermann, 2 Gregory Arganese, 1 Julien Brugnaut.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Noirot, 17 Andrea Lo Cicero, 18 Benjamin Sa, 19 Lionel Nallet, 20 Mathieu Loree, 21 François Steyn, 22 Jacques Cronje, 23 Antoine Batut.

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Sean O'Brien, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 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 Eoin Reddan, 22 Eoin O'Malley / Ian Madigan, 23 Fergus McFadden.

Referee: Greg Garner

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