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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

London Irish go out after tense draw with Leinster

London Irish go out after tense draw with Leinster

Another low scoring Heineken Cup match ended in frantic fashion this past weekend as London Irish and Leinster drew 11-11 at Twickenham, knocking out London Irish despite them coming close to the win in the end.

Leinster top the group with the Exiles finishing third behind the Scarlets. Coach Toby Booth had mixed emotions as his side went out of the tournament following the tense match.

"I'm not feeling suicidal," Booth said. "Strange as it may seem, my first emotion is I'm proud of what we've achieved in this Heineken Cup campaign, to be honest."

"To be undefeated against the team that holds the trophy, and to go to their back garden and win, tells me we can live at the top table of European rugby.

"The damage was not done tonight, it was done in rounds two and five. While you can have some indifferent performances in the Guinness Premiership, if you have them in the Heineken Cup, you can't recover.

"It's part of the continued improvement that we need, this ability to perform when we feel less threatened. It's about moving from happy underdog to expectant favourite and we need to learn that at this club," he added.

Leinster flyhalf Jonny Sexton slotted a wobbly late drop goal that brought his side back up to 11-11 following a penalty from Chris Malone.

Malone had an eventful night though as he scored the only try, but had a poor goalkicking night, as well as narrowly missing two potentially match winning drop goals at the death.

"Chris is very honest," Booth said. "Before the game, he was an 85% goalkicker and he had made his last eight kicks in a row. It can happen to anyone.

"You are either a hero or villain playing No 10 and I was the villain tonight. That's the way it goes, said Malone himself.

"I knew I had the legs to hit those drop goals but just didn't hit the last one straight enough. But we did ourselves in earlier in the Pool with bad results."


Time: 04:10
Note: Now updated to include the dramatic last few minutes

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