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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leinster edge Clermont at the RDS

Leinster edge Clermont at the RDS

Leinster made the semi finals of the Heineken Cup as they narrowly beat Clermont-Auvergne 29-28 at the RDS on Friday night. Jonathan Sexton kicked a late penalty and Brock James failed to slot a last chance drop at goal.

It was a see-saw battle as both Clermont looked like they were in command late in the game despite James missing a host of kicks at goal, and two drop goal chances, in what was a bit of a nightmare night for him.

He missed five of his nine kicks at goal, whereas Sexton was immaculate with the boot, kicking seven from his eight chances, including the deciding penalty on 73 minutes.

"I was rubbish tonight. It was just one of those things because I don't know what got into me," said Clermonts Australian flyhalf James.

"I just wasn't good enough and it's so disappointing because we had the opportunity to win the game but there must be something mental about this team. Leinster capitalised on our mistakes. We really wanted to reach the next stage of the Heineken Cup but now we'll have to concentrate on the Top 14," he added.

"Brock James had a difficult night," commented Clermont coach Vern Cotter. "It's hard to know what he's going through."

Irelands number eight, Jamie Heaslip, was the star of the show though for Leinster as he scored two tries. He admitted that his side had their fair share of luck though.

"Clermont came out all with guns blazing and we wanted to front up and weather the storm, taking our chances when they came," said Heaslip.

"We nearly got a try midway through the second half but it was knocked back by the TMO and that would certainly have made it easier for us. We're happy with the win but we still have a lot of work left to do in this tournament.

"Clermont worked themselves into the right areas to drop goals and we knew they were going to do that so we had to put pressure on them. There was a bit of luck because that last one didn't miss by much but you need that luck in the tournament sometimes."

Julien Malzieu scored a hat-trick of tries for Clermont, but it wasnt enough as James failed to slot the kicks that should have taken them through to the next round.

Sexton fractured his jaw during the game, but has apparently had a metal plate inserted and should be available in three weeks time for the semis.

You can discuss in greater detail and leave your thoughts on the forum thread here .


Time: 05:00
Note: Better quality highlights will replace these if possible.

Posted at 3:17 pm | 42 comments

Viewing 42 comments

Anonymous April 11, 2010 2:33 pm

fiiiirst. the sign of champions is to be able to win even when your not playing well.

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jpm April 11, 2010 2:36 pm

Leo Cullen looks like someone from the Simpsons.

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 2:38 pm

So sad for Clermont

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Kevin April 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Brock James was terrible

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 2:55 pm

you were terrible

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 3:11 pm

its not a sign of a champion team to rely on a shit kicker to win.. besides i didnt think they played badly.. great match!!

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thierry April 11, 2010 3:23 pm

asm deserve to win...i'm sad for them

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FrankyH April 11, 2010 3:28 pm

Brock James, as good as he is normally, basically lost Clermont the match. Having said that though, that final pass from Parra to him was awful.

Very entertaining match though.

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Flooz April 11, 2010 4:15 pm

Leinster are good-looking semifinalists, but i'm very sad for clermont, they deserved to win. B.James missed 26 points!! But can't blame him for this bad day, an other day, it would have go in his way..

Teams like Clermont or Ospreys really deserved much better than these tricky results. Experience paid

i'm watching Toulouse vs SF, waw it's a real war

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Mike April 11, 2010 4:28 pm

Clermont could certainly have won this game and they will understandably think that they should be in the semis. However, I think that if they went ahead, then Leinster would have come back at them again. This one was always going to be close.

Also, I heard that the Clermont fans were great and gave a very good impression before and after the game in Dublin.

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VictorSoCalRuggger April 11, 2010 5:18 pm

was that yellow card on the leinster winger???? cuz it was clermont that had the intentional knock???

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Box April 11, 2010 5:20 pm

No it was to the Clermont player who wasn't in the camera shot for some reason.

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 5:22 pm

it was a great match but i was so deppressed :S Semi final : France vs Irlande ^^ the best teams

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 5:28 pm

"Also, I heard that the Clermont fans were great and gave a very good impression before and after the game in Dublin."

I was at the match. I didn't see any around the city, but at the match, they were assholes. They were waving flags in peoples' faces, blasting the horns at the back of peoples' heads and were shouting loads of shit at Leinster fans.

They were fine after the match though. Left quietly.

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Box April 11, 2010 6:12 pm

The clermont fans I met were great, giving us all wine they brought and some weird french liquor. They thought they'd win though, fancy that ;)

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Jack April 11, 2010 6:42 pm

Indeed - who is right and who is wrong? According to our anonymous friend, Mike is as wrong as Smart and Ballsy Bredan O'Connor in this article: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/the-smart-ballsy-guys-are-buying-up-property-right-now-1047118.html

To be fair, blowing horns and waving flags is pretty normal behaviour - Leinster fans can - in my experience - be a little bit subdued. I remember watching a game years ago versus Newcastle and half the folks around me weren't even looking at the game. They were talking, I'm not kidding, about yachting - having paid to see a world-class player like O'Driscoll do his stuff.

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 8:02 pm

Leinster should never have won but thats the game. They'll be destroyed in the semis though

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 8:15 pm

anyone know what happened to kearney? horgan wasnt great

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mise April 11, 2010 8:26 pm

irish fans are reasonably respectful at matches - (e..g quite quiet for kickers) many others, these days, are more soccer in style. So, as it happens, the comments above don't contradict each other. Clermont fans were great in town ,but slightly annoying at the match, if you come from a culture where you don't, for example, blast out foghorns to try to put off the kickers.

Re the more substantial thing: the match!

At the end, of course it looks like Leinster are lucky, but they were unlucky with a lot throughout the match too.

There could actually have been a pen try for that knock on: I mean, how is that less likely a score than a pushover scrum, when sth. can happen like handling errors etc in the attempt to lift then pt down the ball.

All Leinster needed was for one player to catch a ball travelling at perfect height - maybe a pen try, maybe not, but unlucky nonetheless as they are the kind of team to make those things work.

Reddan's touchdown? Was his mistake putting it down twice? What happens if the first put down was a try? Does the second one actually then matter?

Incredible number of Leinster players impeded in chasing kicks too.

However, i think Leinster _may_ have figured out that the kicks were going arseways for Clermont, and decided that a pen ain't that big a deal to concede - what did they concede - 20 pens?

The deciding moment in the match isn't in these highlights: the ruck was perfectly placed, right in front of the posts, quite close in. James is ready ,with hands in the air at chest height. 2 points in it, one minute to go.
Then, for some bizarre reason, Clermont try one more time to inch forward, and instead get pushed 2-3 yards to the left.
James, having waited too long anyway, now has to readjust and receive a slightly ropey pass. He misses - driving it straight down the line that would have worked 20 seconds previously.

Leinster grit? Clermont inexperience?

Eitherways, it decided the game.

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Anonymous April 11, 2010 8:40 pm

i havent seen brock james as bad as he did vs leinster.

BOD each time he touch the ball its magic!

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Phil April 11, 2010 10:42 pm

Leinster did not deserve that win. On ANY other day Brock James would have destroyed them for the amount of penalties they gave away, but they happened to play on the day Brock had an off-day (which is not too common).

Feel kinda bad for the Clermont team because the forwards were good all day, the backs played quite well and it was just Brock James' kicking that let them down. Must be awful to be in that team now as Brock will blame himself and will probably feel terrible, and the rest of the team will know that it was due to him that they lost :/

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Kearney for tests April 11, 2010 10:51 pm

I love the way that all the commentators and analyists were describing Brock James as the man who somehow slipped through the Australian net, and then that happens. And not only was his kicking awful, his defending was bad too, and remember the crucial missed dropgoals against Munster last year and two years ago? He's been shaky the whole time. This was bound to happen sooner or later, yet nobody realised.

And was anybody else absolutely infuriated to see Shane Horgan laughing and joking after the match? He was at fault for two tries, the second being the worst piece of play I've ever seen. Really, Campese-esque. If I was him I would have apologised and then kept my mouth shut and my head down.

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mise April 11, 2010 11:51 pm

re horgan:
maybe that laughing was just a laugh of relief...as in....... ain't I a lucky boy?!?
u know the 'yes I fucked up completely, but we won so its ok' sort of laugh.......

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Phil April 12, 2010 12:38 am

Brock James didn't slip thru any net.
He wasn't considered good enough.
He was always considered a good player who wasn't good enough to ever play for Australia, and was inconsistent, he'd have a great game then a poor one.
He struggled to hold down a starting S14 spot.
The other thing is that in Australia fly-half is considered the most important position.
And what's expected of them has little to do with goal kicking.
In Australia the fly-half (particularly at international level) has to be a great passer and a great runner with the ball.
He has to be good at it all in terms of attacking play, short and long passing, run arounds, stepping, dummying, trick plays, kicking for position etc.
Goal kicking isn't a very high priority, you can always get another player to do that.
Besides, think about the guys who are playing five eight (or fly half, they're five eiths down here) for Australia currently and when James started - Stephen Larkham, Elton Flatley, Matt Gitaeu, Berrick Barnes, Quade Cooper.
All of them better players than James.

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Anonymous April 12, 2010 12:48 am

That wasn't a deliberate knock on at all from the Frenchy, he was going for the intercept, bad call from the ref.

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cheis April 12, 2010 1:07 am

clermont deserved this one

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Anonymous April 12, 2010 8:51 am

Lets be honest Giteau or James, hmmm....

I felt Clermont came out and played the rugby but I was really suprised that they didn't change kicker at any point, I'm sure there is someone else in the Clermont team who could have taken over.

How come there was on Nalaga? (or have I got the wrong team?).

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frenchpolak April 12, 2010 11:47 am

To Kearney for tests: as much as you're usually spot on, your analysis of Brock James is completely off. Even though I'm a Clermont supporter I'll agree with you that he's not the player that the Australians let slip (fly-halves are definitely not what is missing in Australia, ever), but the amount of wins he's gotten Clermont with a late drop or excellent kicking at goal (kudos to the forwards of course) is enough to say that you're going a little harsh on him. He played really shit on saturday and for some reason these things have happened often against Irish teams, but to go and say he's been shaky the whole time is complete disregard for all he's accomplished outside of the three matches you make reference to.

So true about Horgan though, I hope for him it was just a bad day like for James.

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frenchpolak April 12, 2010 11:50 am

To anonymous comment above my first comment: I completely agree, Parra could easily have taken over considering he was France's main kicker during the 6N.

Nalaga was injured. Kind of a blessing in the end considering Malzieu went on for a hat-trick.

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paddy87 April 12, 2010 11:55 am

Re: clermont deserved this one

You deserve everything you get! No one ever teach you that. Clermont weren't good enough against a poor Leinster. Simple as! Hopefully they'll improve against Toulouse.

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Kearney for tests April 12, 2010 2:10 pm

Frenchpolak, I appreciate your kindness, but from my point of view I think James is a bit flaky. Now I don't really watch the Top 14 , so yes, he probably has won them dozens of matches with dropgoals or penalties. But Clermont vs. Munster 2007/2008, when he could have denied them a bonus point, he missed an easy dropgoal. Then the same thing happened this year in Thomond Park when Clermont were ahead and probably could have killed the Munster challenge with an even easier dropgoal. And now in the quarter final he just fails miserably at everything. Maybe I'm wrong, but from what I've seen he seems like he just can't handle high-pressure situations. You could be right and it's just an unfortunate coincidence that he only plays bad against Irish teams. But basing my analysis on these, well...you know what I'm going to say.

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Richard April 12, 2010 2:10 pm

brock james played terrible.missed 3 dropgoals.heaslip and kearney brilliant and so was sexton who fractured his jaw in the first half

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Darren April 12, 2010 3:35 pm

Wasn't Parra playing for Clermont, probably the best kicked in this most recent 6 nations??

BOD is undoubtedly the greatest Irish Player ever. Taking 3 guys out like that, sheer genius.

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Anonymous April 12, 2010 4:08 pm

"Indeed - who is right and who is wrong? According to our anonymous friend, Mike is as wrong as Smart and Ballsy Bredan O'Connor in this article: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/the-smart-ballsy-guys-are-buying-up-property-right-now-1047118.html"

Or perhaps we met different Clermont fans. That's a possibility considering there were about 5,000 there (or so I've heard). If you're gunna be smart about something make sure you don't miss something like that.

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Mike April 12, 2010 4:26 pm

indeed - who is right and who is wrong? According to our anonymous friend, Mike is as wrong as Smart and Ballsy Brendan O'Connor in this article: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/the-smart-ballsy-guys-are-buying-up-property-right-now-1047118.html

lol - you don't get much more wrong than that!

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flapjack April 12, 2010 6:17 pm

Like Phil said, Clermont forwards were awesome. Halfway through the first half, I didn't know how Leinster were ever going to get out of their own side of the pitch.

But Jamie Heaslip, what a player! 5-10m from the line, I'd look for him every time. Kevin McLaughlin also had a great match.

Clermont are a sneaky side; they were 10 down, and before I realized what was happening, they were in the lead again. Brock James gave them a few points that match, but he probably could've won it for them, too. A bit unlucky, I guess.

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28-29 April 12, 2010 7:59 pm

Cleremont fans were with out doubt the best fans I've seen in the RDS. Clapped for their own kicks, were silent for ours, swapped scarves and flags after, stayed around for hours in the pubs having fun after, had a picnic of sorts handing out wine and bread.

Exactly what rugby support is all about.

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Anonymous April 14, 2010 10:41 pm

Clermont fans clapped for both and used horns for Sexton's kicks. Some guy near my had the horn and wouldn't shut up with it.

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Anonymous April 15, 2010 4:42 am

This thing about being quiet when a player kicks is unique to some parts of Europe.
In NZ or Aus people keep making all the noise they want, and why not, it's all in fun. It's only a game of rugby after all.
In South Africa they often scream their heads off.
If Clermont fans want to make noise to put off the kicker there shouldn't be any problem with it.
Personally I think it's a bit of an odd practice to keep quiet when the opposition kicker is taking a shot at goal.

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Anonymous April 15, 2010 10:28 pm

This thing about being quiet when a player kicks is unique to some parts of Europe.
----------
Wouldn't say it's unique. Seems to be common practice in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland at least.

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Anonymous April 15, 2010 10:41 pm

Yeah, that's right, like I said, some parts of Europe, those parts being the UK and Ireland.

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Anonymous April 18, 2010 9:46 pm

Unique, yet it applies to hundreds of clubs across those countries and the national squads? Not unique buddy.

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