Prop lays into fullback with big shot


The Human Hurdle Attempt


Sam Burgess breaks cheekbone, plays on


Ben Flower red card for vicious punches


Female Streaker has no regrets


Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


Why you should always tackle low


Ben Funnell slamming tackle on Hawkins


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper

Monday, May 23, 2011

Leinster fight back to win a classic Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff

Leinster fight back to win a classic Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff

Its been called one of the greatest European cup finals weve seen, and it probably wasnt far off as Leinster came back from the dead to pull off an inspired Heineken Cup tournament win over Northampton Saints in Cardiff on Saturday.

Down 22-6 after a first half onslaught, Leinster came back to win the match 33-22 in sensational fashion. Scoring 27 unanswered points in a second half blitz, the Irish side were inspired by young Jonny Sexton, whos halftime teamtalk will no doubt become a thing of rugby folklore.

After the match, Brian ODriscoll revealed that it was the flyhalf that sparked the teams unbelievable comeback. "Besides what Jonny produced in the second half, some of his words at half-time really struck a chord.

"He was a man possessed. He said this game would be remembered if we came back. You could see he had the bit between his teeth and he was ready for it."

Sexton told his teammates that stranger things have happened in sport, that fairytales do exist and that they only needed to think back to Liverpools 3-0 down recovery in the 2005 Champions League Final to see that the impossible is indeed, possible.

"We were shell-shocked and we needed half-time. We regrouped," Sexton explained. "I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to sport and I said we see in sport that teams can come back, like Liverpool a few years ago. Stuff like that happens. We had to believe it."

Leinster came out pumped up, determined to turn things around, while Northampton were spent, having demolished their opposing pack in the first half with a one-sided scrumming performance, the likes of which are very rarely seen at this level.

With their powerhouse Soane Tonga'uiha seemingly struggling with a sore shoulder, and hooker Dylan Hartley having taken a knock to the head when scoring his first half try, the Leinster forwards looked rejuvenated, turning things on their head.

"It doesnt matter how well you play for 40. If you dont come out in the second half then the opposition will punish you," said Saints fullback Ben Foden.

"All credit to Leinster. They are the best side in Europe for a reason. I thought they were outstanding and they showed tremendous character to pick themselves up." 

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Posted at 12:15 pm | 123 comments

Viewing 123 comments

O May 23, 2011 6:00 pm

Such an amazing second half

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Emmet May 23, 2011 6:02 pm

Saints had their best 40 minutes of the season in the first half.

Leinster had their best 25 minutes of the season at the start of the second.

What an occasion. The stadium was absolutely incredible.

Northhampton fans were a class act, best of luck and hopefully we'll see you again at another final!

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 6:03 pm

2nd and great 2nd half...Bring on World Cup

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Dubh May 23, 2011 6:07 pm

Highlights dont do the game justice - and thats not a stab at RD.

So many moments of magic from both teams. Leinster had so many magical moves in that second half that made me a bit too excited as a rugby fan.

Worthy champs - If Ireland play like that in the WC - Well, the dark horse tag wont do them justice either.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 6:30 pm

I was so happy to see Hartley and Ashton looking dejected at the end of the match. Two players that really do my nut in.

Unlucky to the rest of the Saints players ye played a part in a fantastic final and no doubt ye will be back contending again.

COME ON THE LEINSTER!!!!!!!!

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oz mania May 23, 2011 6:31 pm

sean o'brien is an insane player... best backrower in northern hem at the moment..i would pay my weeks wages to see leinster vs super 15 winner..honestly think leinster are unstoppable at the moment..and im from oz so no bias at all

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Colombes May 23, 2011 6:34 pm

Great final!
From a french point of view , it recalled me france-all blacks of 1999.

Leinster is a hell of a team with guys like obrien, heaslip and sexton... They deserved their victory on the final, and regarding to their way to the final: winning against Clermont, Leicester and Toulouse. it is something...

Saints played without complex, were very efficient and direct during the 1st half, but i had the feeling that they wouldn't keep the rythm very long, but i wasn't expecting such a scenario.
A personal word on Romain poite who is always criticized over channel, he led the match with a lot of liberty and reward the dominant scrums (isn't it mr clancy?)

again, Hurrah for both teams

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OutsideCentre May 23, 2011 6:38 pm

Come on......Lets see Leinster v Super 15 winners......would be a cracker. Too bad that super 15 doesnt end for another couple of weeks.

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Laz May 23, 2011 6:45 pm

Considering Saints murdered their scrum in the first half and racked up 22 points with consummate ease, I'd say that Leinster are anything but unstoppable. They were however brilliant in the 2nd half, showing that at their best they're very very hard to stop.

Amazing game of rugby. I think the Northampton boys will still be sitting with their heads in their hands saying 'what on earth just happened'!

High tempo, passionate.. just brilliant. It's a great advert for why the Millennium Stadium should always have the roof closed (and why 'purists' should get over their muddy rugby fascination). x

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Beatrootz May 23, 2011 6:52 pm

as a SH supporter...My hat goes off to both teams...Game was epic.
Congrats Leinster.. some real character to turn that game around!!!
Hardluck Northampton... You will learn from this

RUGBY AS IT SHOULD BE!!! AMEN

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Neil May 23, 2011 6:57 pm

Sexton is a Hero

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Phii May 23, 2011 7:11 pm

best stadium in the world,

the atmosphere was amazing, and the game was better

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 7:15 pm

did anyone watching the game notice at one point dylan hartley biting someones fingers???

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Dole May 23, 2011 7:18 pm

Superb rugby match, an outrageous amount of character shown by Leinster!

One of many points that stood out for me was BOD vs Foden.
Two missed tackles on Foden by BOD, and one try-saving tackle on BOD by Foden.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 7:22 pm

dole : yup true, he was nowhere near fit, possibly under perform against Munster in magners final next week too.

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Dave May 23, 2011 7:24 pm

Unbelievable atmosphere...
was the only blue in a bunch of Saints/Neutrals.. Great bunch of fans.. Thanks to all for the pints and congrats before during and after the game. Never want to go through a game like that again.

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I hate ppl who write May 23, 2011 7:36 pm

As a Leinster fan I'm over the moon with the win, hats off to Foden for a great game at full-back.

Just goes to show how much of the game is about momentum and attitude! Great stuff Leinster!

Wouldn't get too excited about the RWC just yet though.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 7:41 pm

Didn't get a chance to watch the game, watching the highlights really looks like I missed out.

Congrats to Leinster they looked outstanding in their part of the game. But I feel terrible for the Saints, looks like they should have done a Leicester and stuffed the ball up their jumpers for the second half, that would of been the only way to get the better of that rampage.

All that speak last year of the salary cap depriving English rugby, knew it was a load of tosh then and i think this proves it. The mighty Quins are second tier champions and Saints are second best. Roll on the World Cup.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 7:49 pm

WOW.. as a SAFFA. this game was incredible to watch! Everything was amazing from this match.

Dont think Mujati's yellow was the best call.. deifintly a penalty,but not yellow.

Yet again..great match would kill to see Super15 Vs Leinster Final.

IRB should really consider this to promote rugby

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Gavin May 23, 2011 8:13 pm

Dole -

Bear in mind that BOD was 60% fit, and Foden is a super player.

I heard great things about the Northampton fans from Leinster fans on other forums. Hard luck guys - your time will come.

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jpm May 23, 2011 8:17 pm

Leinster and Munster both benefit form the fact that they basically supply the Ireland national side.

Thus for provinces to play clubs is not really a level playing field.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 8:20 pm

what about ulster who managed to get to the quarterfinal of the heineken this year and are former winners.and of course connacht who will be playing next year

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Mike May 23, 2011 8:27 pm

JPM, that's a pretty stupid point. The top tier in each country represents the top of the playing pyramid.

Ireland has 4 top-tier teams, with 150,000 registered players. That's 35,000 players per top-tier team.

England has over 12 top-tier teams with 2.5 million registered players. That's over 200,000 players per top-tier team. So England has nearly 7 times as much talent competing to get into their top-tier teams.

You are right - it's not a level playing pitch. But Irish teams still manage to compete.

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Gavin May 23, 2011 8:29 pm

Yeah, if RD could source some of O'Brien's carries, and Healy's too, it would be great.

Also a compilation of the scrums - in the correct order - would be amazing.

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Mike May 23, 2011 8:30 pm

England has over 12 top-tier teams

Of course I meant '12' not 'over 12' which wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.

Insert embarrassment smiley here.

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mise May 23, 2011 8:31 pm

Incredible stuff - WTF happened at half time? Leinster lads bettin on themselves to win during the actual half time break?

Really, I don't think so, I think it was just an incredible turnaround, but what a turnaround. esp in the scrum.

Front rows answer me this: were Northampton going in illegally (sideways) in the first half? Apparently video analysis at half time helped clarify a few thing for leinster, but still - it wasn't even taking off Healy that sorted it - it was half time.

real changing of the guard, with SOB Heaslip, Sexton and maybe even Healy, Fitz and McFadden as the new leaders. Good times for Leinster.

Anonymous 10.19pm (see what I did there?) don't think RD make the vid. But yes, there were some excellent left out bits. those runs, the disallowed D'Arcy try (in that manic first 20 mins of second half!)

JPM: there are two other Irish sides, they just don't supply enough players to the national side. Not that diff to Scot or Wales re number of significant clubs when u think about it - or even OZ!)

Super 15's champs vs Leinster in a halfway ground......

Hong Kong? Or in Dubai?

best of 3 it would have to be, thou there would be serious time constraints on staying somewhere for that long.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 8:33 pm

Heaslip is a cheeky Boy!! Nice work off the ball on a few occasions to put his team mates in advantageous positions...shame Northampton have nobody who could put him in his place....

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RD May 23, 2011 8:35 pm

If those complaining would like to edit and upload videos of the scrums, runs, and whatever else you're unhappy about that's not included in this 7 minute highlights package, please feel free to send in the link and I'll take a look. Thanks :)

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 8:37 pm

Dubh

Ireland will never play like that with Kidney at the helm. Such a shame. They could compete with the top 3 easily, but they are managed way too poorly. They need Joe Schmidt or another SH coach to lead them.

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jpm May 23, 2011 8:43 pm

9/10 of the Leinster side are regular Ireland internationals. The salient fact is that These guys are exposed to top line international play all the time and play together all tihe time.

Irrespective of country size or playing populaiton.....it's no surprise that a side of 2/3 the Irish national side would beat a side with 4 regular equivalent England internationals......Foden, Laws, Ashton and Hartley.

Like I said....it's apples and oranges. This is why Leinster and Munster have done so well over the years....their international players are not diluted over alot of teams.

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JD May 23, 2011 8:44 pm

"jpm said...
Leinster and Munster both benefit form the fact that they basically supply the Ireland national side.

Thus for provinces to play clubs is not really a level playing field."

The country only has 5.5 million or something... what exactly are they meant to do? It's an advantage in one sense - the players are familiar with each other - but it's a disadvantage in another - there are not many players to choose from. Personally, I'd much rather have a much larger player pool to pick from, but they don't so they do well with what they have.

Pretty silly point mate.

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John F May 23, 2011 8:45 pm

Incredible but also bizarre game. I knew that Leinster would hit back in the second half but I was still surprised to see Northampton get stream-rollered to such an extent after dominating in the first half.

There is a youtube user who has uploaded the whole game if anyone wants to make an edits video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FalWd3GYB3w&feature=channel_video_title

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 8:47 pm

People say Poite is the best scrum ref right now. Load of shit to be honest. I could see from the start that Hartley was pulling hi head free and popping up from start to end and I'm no scrum expert. Quite blatant. Cullen even brought it up with the ref but Poite ignored it. That said, NH are the better scrummaging team, but they were still doing it illegally.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 8:49 pm

"Heaslip is a cheeky Boy!! Nice work off the ball on a few occasions to put his team mates in advantageous positions...shame Northampton have nobody who could put him in his place...."

Let's not forget Dowson holding onto Horgan's leg which was why Northampton scored their first try.

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Juggernauter May 23, 2011 8:50 pm

Amazing amazing amazing, couldn't believe my eyes watching the game.

Ben Foden is playing superbly well -shame the guys at Sale had so little vision, he would have 30+ caps already... Still, incredible rugby, Sexton said that he was inspired by Liverpool's 3-0 half time deficit against AC Milan at the Champions Final couple years ago and BOD said that Sexton performed quite some speech at half time...

And jeez, the atmosphere was just electric... Well played by Leinster, showed what true champions are made of... nerves of steel and a good pair of 'em.

All hail to Tonga'huia, Foden, BOD, Nacewa, O'Brien, Heaslip, Sexton, etc, who will definitely be at the WC, but even more to the ones who probably won't, like Downey, Clarke, Dowson, Wilson, Day, Strauss, McFadden, Wright...

Can't wait 'til WC

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Brick Shithouse May 23, 2011 8:53 pm

JPM you just ignored what Mike said, think about it, England have 200,000 players per top tier team so you should be able to leave people who would make the Irish national team completely out of the squad as we only have 35,000 per top tier team. The fact that Ireland have more internationals on their club sides is immaterial as England should have more strength in depth and should be able to compete with people who arent internationals but are still very very good

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New centre pairing May 23, 2011 8:58 pm

Wonderful game. But Brian O'Driscoll was just such an embarrassment. I'm really sick of him being crap when it comes to really important matches. And to people who say he wasn't fully fit, then he could have just said, "I'm not fully fit. Play someone who won't be crap". Same goes for Gordan D'arcy.

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Aquaman May 23, 2011 9:04 pm

Jeez Sexton is like THE guy you should look for in finals. Wonderful calmness. Ronan O'Gara and his non tackling technique will likely never play again for Ireland!

It's a shame that PDV won't pick Mujati for the Boks, he is a Monster of a player!

And Phil Dowson pushing Heaslip after Leinster's try for blocking him... Man, I thought punches were coming!

Great game. Let's hope the Amplin final has something of this soon!

Cheers

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london ginger May 23, 2011 9:06 pm

6 of one, 1/2 dozen of the other. England have a lot more players but dilute their really top class ones across 12 teams. Ireland have less to choose from but more of their players are exposed both to each other and top level experience.

On a side point, there are more people in Dublin than in Samoa, and they never get to gel at all, but can still compete.

All of these arguments don't make sense really....

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Dubh May 23, 2011 9:07 pm

^^Centre Pairing

BOD offers a heckuva lot more than just running lines. You do realise that his passing and offloading game is one of the pinnacles of the Leinster game?

He's also one of the biggest leaders in the game right now. You can be that he had some words with the team in the tunnel, not just Sexton doing all the talking.

Thats not even factoring in that BOD has experience in a final, and the psychological blow of losing your most rated player. Imagine going in 22-6 down and missing the Ireland captain, and instead having McFadden, a great player but nevetheless a player whose never been in a final before.

I know who'd i want. BOD just as much set up Sextons first try as well with his break.

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jpm May 23, 2011 9:11 pm

Not at all. Players that are constantly exposed to international rugby and play together all the time for their provinces are simply going to be stronger than club sides...

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Mike May 23, 2011 9:16 pm

JPM -

I think you have a point I think with regard to combinations being used to each other - it's good if your 9 and 10 play together, or you second rows, or back 3 or whatever. The kind of 'units' that are hard to build in a short space of time (as we learn every time there is a Lions tour).

On the other hand, it's up to England to choose units from its top teams that - whatever way you slice it - have nearly 20 times more players than Ireland.

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Michael May 23, 2011 9:23 pm

I would have no difficulty with England/France consolidating their team into regional/provincial sides.

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Mike May 23, 2011 9:42 pm

Check the video here for two phases in a row where Healy and O'Brien make about 40 metres in 2 phases, breaking 3 or 4 tackles each.

Four minutes in or so...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNkSWLNKKCY

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Ireland for WC 2011 May 23, 2011 9:43 pm

@ new centre pairing

i'm sure glad i never played rugby with you mate.to say,of all things,that BOD's performance was "embarrasing" is one of the most outrageous statements i've seen on this website.you were "embarrased" to watch the irish captain,who,at 32 years of age,has brought this country so much glory,who was out their giving 110% as he always does,despite his injury,just because he was beaten twice on the outside by one of the fastest young players in the world?

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Ireland for WC 2011 May 23, 2011 9:44 pm

*our country

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 9:51 pm

Fantastic game, fantastic crowd

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 9:52 pm

as a saints fan, very dissapointed but hats off the leinster they played very well. saints need to have more faith in the squad and rotate as fatigue at the end of the season will loose you silverware. saints will be back!

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Greiffel May 23, 2011 9:53 pm

Bear in mind that these highlights are made as short as possible so that users in all countries - not just those with decent internet connections - can view them. Anything more than 5/7 mins is a bit of a push in some places.

It was a brilliant game though so of course if you can watch the whole thing again, that would be your best bet.

Also, Sean O'Brien - what a season.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 9:54 pm

And also saints need better depth in the squad, and maybe the best sighing would be a new accountant??

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 10:04 pm

jpm

actually we have only 4.2 mil in Ireland or thereabouts..
we have so many good players now because Leinster and Munster try
to use HOMEGROWN indigenous players unlike say a team like toulon who
have like 8-10 foreign players - in fact in the 2012/13 season the IRFU is thinking about lowering the 5 foreign player limit to only 4 per club.


Look at England, from next season, if you don't play your rugby for an
English club you can't get picked for the national team.

If you watch Munster / Leinster games they'll have about 12 irish players
starting on each team. They were brought through the academy, so you are saying they shouldn't have a chance at success and play for the national team?

Sean o Brien is a perfect example he worked REAL hard and had to make do with
most of last season on the bench, that's the level leinster are at. Only
when Heaslip got injured could he prove his worth and earned himself a place in Leinster's starting 15.

Thus now, earned a solid place in the Ireland national team from his
great performances with Leinster.

If there were more players that stood out or showed promise playing for the Tigers / Saints - wouldn't they be on the English national team?

OF course they would !

Don't knock munster and leinster for being professional and raising the bar
to an international level. They've won the last 4 out of 6 European cups
and they didn't get there by doing nothing.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 10:28 pm

I'm relatively new to rugby - can someone explain why Hartley and Ashton are so disliked?

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 10:28 pm

I'm relatively new to rugby - can someone explain why Hartley and Ashton are so disliked?

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New centre pairing May 23, 2011 10:28 pm

I'm not saying that I think O'Driscoll is a terrible player or that he hasn't done a massive amoutn for Ireland and Leinster. I think he's one of the best players to ever play rugby. But the fact is that everybody says he's an amazing leader and a great player and he runs great lines etc. But on Saturday he was just crap. He couldn't tackle, he dropped balls, he got within 5 metres of the line and just knocked it on instead of hanging on and recycling it. No matter how good his tactical organisation or leadership (or other general things that don't require proof) was, as a player he was complete muck on Saturday, and if you can't see that then you're obviously hugely biased.

And what makes it even worse is that nobody will admit it. They all just pull the "He's a better player than you. He's done a lot in the past" card and pretend that he doesn't make mistakes.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 10:41 pm

New centre pairing

he had an average game, but even an average game from someone of his level and experience is a good thing to have.

to be honest we was nowhere near fit, he should have put at least 1 try away in each half but his knee is slowing him down, might not be ready for magners final this weekend either

again his presence speaks volumes.

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Gavin May 23, 2011 10:46 pm

I'm relatively new to rugby - can someone explain why Hartley and Ashton are so disliked?
A huge part of Hartley's game is winding up the opposition, being sneaky and aggressive, making them lose their concentration and their cool. He's good at it. I think there's a bit of resentment that he's a Kiwi playing for England (although he moved to England early enough in his career I think). Also he received a very long ban for gouging a few years back, which is considered the lowest of low acts on a rugby pitch (except in France - it seems it's more tolerated there, and they get angry about banning players who do it).

As for Ashton, I think his swan dive when he scores winds people up (as it's a bit un-rugby like to rub your opponents face in things like that) and he seems to be a bit lippy (he and ROG had a bit of a disagreement in the 6N this year), but I actually don't think he's a bad guy at all. And he's a top player too.

Sometimes players get this 'dislike' tag and it seems to become received wisdom that they are arseholes, so the label feeds on itself and becomes a 'fact' in peoples' minds. Same thing happens in every walk of life. I hope Ashton escapes this label, he deserves it less than Hartley.

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Mike May 23, 2011 10:49 pm

The fact that they put an unfit BOD in there rather than Fergus McFadden who would walk into just about any other team in Europe tells you all you need to know about how important he is.

He had a bad game by his standards, but the opposition spend so much time worrying about what he might do at any moment that he creates time and space for others. You will miss him when he is gone.

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cheyanqui May 23, 2011 10:49 pm

Anonymous --
Click on the videos tagged for Hartley -- it's pretty clear.

As for Ashton, I think many people dislike him because:
1- he showboats on every try.
2- he's the latest in a long line of Great White Hopes. The British commentators cream over anything he does, and demand swift and bloody retribution from the citing commissioners if anyone lays a hand on him.

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Guy May 23, 2011 10:53 pm

@ anonymous above:

Hartley can be a bit cheecky (as all other forwards) but has cleaned up his act a lot in recent time.

Ashton seems quite arrogant but anyone who has seen footage of him off the pitch might know he is quite a normal, down to earth guy. Furthermore he is the only one that is not allowed to do a dive when going for the line...or at least not a high one. Because that is arrogant too. Contrary to e.g. doing a flick-flack after a try or a caterpillar, or turtle or whatever. Because that IS cool.

Besides, Ashton showed some nice sportmanship last week as you can see in a previous post.

As you might tell from my slight sarcasm: there is no objective reason to dislike any of them more then any other player in any hemisphere or in any team. Some people just need someone to crap on and those people sometimes like to do their crapping together.

Don't listen to them. You might be new to rugby but I will tell you this: rugby is all about respect.

Enjoy your new found passion!

On the Leinster/Northampton game: just great!

RD: thanks for finding the time tu upload this amidst all the stress of the new site etc.

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 11:15 pm

from about 1880 to 2000 ulster always had the most players out of the provinces in the irish team.

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martin-offload May 23, 2011 11:16 pm

2.5 million registered players? I am unsure where you get you stats from but that one puzzles me?! I can't imagine that there are 2.5 million registered footballers in England? The UK has a population of 60m, just over half are women, you need to take away Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland from that then work out how many people are between about 18 and 40. I think you see my point.....

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 11:18 pm

by jpms reasoning new zealand are shit. idiot

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Anonymous May 23, 2011 11:20 pm

to say england dilute there players across 12 teams is ridiculous. youre never going to see some solid internationals at leeds newcastle exeter.stop bullshitting

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 12:27 am

Stormers - Blues come back was more impressive and an overall better game. Sorry.

When you come back with your bok centers missing, your main flyhalf gone/your scrumhalf playing flyhalf and kicking at goal AND with Ricky Januarie on the field for 80 minutes in NZ against the top NZ side with a NZ ref and playing with 14 men for 10 minutes...

yeah.

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wow-jiffy-lube May 24, 2011 1:29 am

I would say, even though (as a fan)I may be biased, that Jonny Sexton had a game unmatched since Dan Carter's in the second Lions Test in 2005 (internationally) or Tony Ward's in 1978 (when Munster beat the All Blacks). Surely that performance will have silenced those doubters. In all fairness, O'Gara would never have had the power or determination to score those tries. If you disagree, please retort (but be prepared to back it up).

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Donkey Punch May 24, 2011 1:37 am

at anonymous at 2:27 am
thank god you shared your wealth of knowledge with us northern hemisphere pussies, you are truly a great ambassador for the sport of rugby.
we in the north constantly forget that when we percieve a game to be entertaining and enjoyable that it is merely some cheap imitation of another game that has happened in the south,
your opinion and knowledge is invaluable, please continue to contribute to this site.

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wow-jiffy-lube May 24, 2011 1:45 am

@newcentrepairing

I presume you've heard of the sixteenth man for Munster. If not, it refers to the famous crowd in Thomond park. For Leinster, BOD is number 13 AND 16. For example, on saturday, he was clearly injured following the match against Ulster, yet I challenge you to find a point in the HC Final where he showed anything less than 100% commitment, be it in the tackle (even a missed one), a carry ( he,s lost some pace but made up for it in skill), or in the Breakdown ( he's possibly the best ball-winner in the world after McCaw and Pocock). The man is nothing short of a rugby genius and at his prime was the best in the world, without a shadow of a doubt. His longevity is merely a bonus, but it is a useful one.

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 8:02 am

Dear Anonymous @ 2:27 AM,

How intelligent of you to claim that one particular game is better than another game that you haven't even seen.

Seriously, the stupidty of some of the children on this site is just amazing sometimes.

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Lord of the Dance May 24, 2011 9:00 am

Bigger crowd than any Super Rugby game, bigger spectacle than any Super Rugby game, awesome.

And to think these teams have already played around 30 games this season as opposed to a measly 14 matches with no away legs/support. Fantastic.

Super Rugby has better male dancers though I do admit that.

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Ian M May 24, 2011 9:09 am

The look on Tonga'uiha's face when Sexton scored his second was priceless: "how the fuck did you guys not tackle that little runt?"

As a prop myself I would love to know how Leinster turned that one around.

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oz mania May 24, 2011 10:08 am

anyone have any favorites to claim the Hcup next year? surely Leinster are current favourites?

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moddeur May 24, 2011 10:28 am

There was a bit of holding/blocking on one (or more) try occasions, for each side, which should have been punished.
I guess it's normal that referees punish this kind of offence with a yellow card when they actually manage to see it (Mujati).

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moddeur May 24, 2011 10:34 am

@Gavin
"Also he received a very long ban for gouging a few years back, which is considered the lowest of low acts on a rugby pitch (except in France - it seems it's more tolerated there, and they get angry about banning players who do it)."

That's unfair. I don't believe that gouging is more tolerated here in France, I certainly don't tolerate it and I certainly don't ever want to see Julien Dupuy in a French jersey, ever.

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 10:57 am

Lol, about 10 out of the 15 sides in Super Rugby would have won this competition.

Fail. Ireland rugby... failing to beat the All Blacks for 100 years.

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Gavin May 24, 2011 11:00 am

Moddeur,

I take your point and I did not intend any disrespect, but surely you have seen the messages from our French friends here complaining about the bans given to Dupuy and especially Attoub?

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Mike May 24, 2011 11:11 am

Lol, another retard comment from anonymous 12.57pm...

Your realise that the Super 15 is made up of only 15 teams from the three top nations in the world? You get that, right?

Whereas the Heineken Cup features teams that are drawn from the top European countries?

Are you still with me? And in these countries, there are many clubs? And in the top division in France ALONE there are 14 clubs?

To be honest, it's actually a huge fail on your part to admit that there are 5 Super 15 teams that wouldn't have won this competition.

I don't understand the envy of some of our SH contributors here - sure, you don't have an epic internation knockout tournament there, and you don't have a competition with the history and variety of the 6 Nations, and you don't have any travelling supporters for the Super 15, and you don't have lots of stuff.

But you do have a great competition where (the majority?) of the world's best players compete, and you do have less quantity but far higher average quality (if you are comparing the S15 to the domestic European leagues).

I don't see why guys like that anonymous poster spend so much time shitting themselves about how good the HC is, and running down NH rugby. Be secure, have a bit of confidence - have some balls. Stop trying to make yourself feel better by claiming credit for something that you haven't done, and comparing it to what other people are doing.

In short, harden the **** up.

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 11:25 am

How Heaslip was not called for obstruction on that second try, I will never know

Amazingly blatant and right in front of Poite

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 11:34 am

Wow Mike (gay name, btw) thanks for the rugby lesson!

Too bad I know far more than you do.

Winner.

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Mike May 24, 2011 11:43 am

You'll forgive me, I'm sure, if I think you are talking more bollocks. Does your mother know you use the computer?

1.25pm - You are right, that was a fairly clear obstruction. Poite let a lot go during the game, including a similar interference on Horgan that lead to Northampton's first try (although that was harder to spot, in fairness).

I also get the impression that Northampton were scrummaging illegally in the first half, and Poite was allowing it. At half time, I imagine the 'analysis' was that Leinster should also scrummage illegally, seeing as Poite was allowing it.

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moddeur May 24, 2011 11:56 am

@Gavin
"I take your point and I did not intend any disrespect, but surely you have seen the messages from our French friends here complaining about the bans given to Dupuy and especially Attoub?"

I have indeed, and it's true that when you listen to them complaining about the length of the bans, it feels like they are complaining about the bans themselves.
I for one think the bans are fair, you cannot possibly try to criminally impair someone's vision and then play the victim. Besides, the lengthier the bans, the more dissuasive they are for future "gouge-wanabees".

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NH Rugby May 24, 2011 12:49 pm

Leinster vs Super Rugby Champs would of course be a great game, and i wouldnt put it past them to win it either.

The problem is that Leinster vs (almost) any of the S15 teams would be a well contested game....At the moment, with the standard of the premiership so low, the Top14 full of mercinaries and the Magners league dragged down with very poor quality sides in its lower half the EUROPEAN CLUB game is suffering. While there are undoubtedly 15 great clubs between the 6 nations, they are not getting enough exposure to quality rugby week in week out....

A Super European League? (Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Toulouse, Stade, Clermont, Biarritz, Leicester, Wasps, Gloucester, Northampton, Ospreys...all teams have proven themselves worthy of such a tournament (Scarlets/Toulon/Castres/Bath/Saracens/Blues/London Irish/Perpignan/Racing could also benefit)

Would it be possible to morph the Heineken cup into a year round league format? With even a second tier and promotion/relegation system?

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Gav May 24, 2011 1:01 pm

NH Rugby -

There are a lot of problems with that. I'd hate to see rugby turning into a football situation where the top clubs form a closed shop and play each other as often as possible to squeeze money out of the paying public.

The beauty of the HC is that it's a knock-out competition, and the group games are semi-knockout because if you lose a home game, it's almost impossible to qualify from your group.

I used to love the European Cup in football - back in the days when Red Star Belgrade could win it 20 years ago. What happened since? A concentration of power and money in the top clubs of Spain, Englad and Italy, and now it's the same teams competing all of the time. A team from Serbia or any of the smaller leagues will never win the EC again.

I like the ERC as it is - it's an amazing tournament. Why change it? The problem you highlight needs to be addressed at national league level.

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 1:35 pm

"Lol, about 10 out of the 15 sides in Super Rugby would have won this competition.

Fail. Ireland rugby... failing to beat the All Blacks for 100 years."

I disagree mate. I support Crusaders and I'd say they'd be the only club team to be favourites if they were to play Leinster.

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cheyanqui May 24, 2011 1:45 pm

Gav,
You bring up an interesting issue -- the ERC.

I think it's garbage that Heineken Cup sends its 2nd place teams into the ERC.

Giving three "second chance" slots to Wasps, Clermont, and Munster?

Why not give them to the three best 2nd place teams already in the Amlin CC? Gloucester, Sale, Leeds?

It's akin to a club whose First XV got eliminated from the playoffs, then sending its players to replace the Third XV who made it to the local final.

The ERC should be a development tool for the teams that did not make it. Those teams deserve a shot at success against each other.

But alas, I think that this system is more about money.

The ERC assumes that the 9th-11th Heineken teams are a better sell than the 5th-8th Amlin teams.

It's economically true, but it's still a poor competition.

Is there any other sport in the world that does this?

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New centre pairing May 24, 2011 1:53 pm

Cheyanqui, come on. Now that teams like Munster and Clermont and other top teams are getting into the Challenge Cup through the back door, it's given the competition some life. Before nobody gave a damn about it, it was just full of teams not good enough for the HC. But now it's actually interesting because there are very good teams playing in it, and it's become more meaningful.

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 2:25 pm

"Lol, about 10 out of the 15 sides in Super Rugby would have won this competition.

Fail. Ireland rugby... failing to beat the All Blacks for 100 years."

you forget that a certain irish CLUB team beat the all blacks some years ago

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oz mania May 24, 2011 2:33 pm

Im delighted my leinster vs super 15 champs has got so much coverage..glad to see the interest..make it happen

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 2:33 pm

on the way to the final leinster beat:

both english premiership final teams in saracens and leicester

the two teams at the top of the french top 14 in toulouse and racing metro

two other top 4 teams in france and england in clermont and northampton respectively

they are also currently in the magners league final

bring on any super 15 team

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Mike May 24, 2011 2:45 pm

Personally, I'd expect the better S15 teams to beat the top HC teams as they have such a concentration of talent, but it would be a very interesting experiment.

Interestingly, there's talk of one or two of the Irish players (notably Rob Kearney) heading down to the SH to get game time before the WC. I'd love to see that too, see how they get on.

*disclosure - speaking as a Munster fan*

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 2:50 pm

Super Rugby clubs would be confused in Europe.

"Whaaaaaaat? We have to play league games home and away, AND a cup competition?"

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 4:10 pm

a NH v SH club game would be great but it's never going to happen on even terms because the seasons are not in sync and there would always be an advantage one way or the other. Look at footballs world club cup, it's not taken seriously because one team is always in holiday mode and a team like Man U or Barca inevitably send a gang of youngsters to play it.

A player like Kearney would be interesting to see with the stormers but he has not played competitively since October so don't be surprised if he does not even make the bench. That's not a dig at him, it's just that the super rugby season is at the business end and I don't think teams will be willing to allow unfit players some game time just for the sake of it.

Finally, what a day in Cardiff. Great atmosphere, great game, the right result for me! Commiserations to the gracious Northampton fans I sat with.

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Joe May 24, 2011 4:16 pm

How good was Foden!!

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 5:40 pm

Lol, this was pitiful, NO SH team would let the game run away like this!

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Gav May 24, 2011 7:02 pm

Jesus, yet another retarded SH comment. You could just as easily say 'no SH team would be capable of mounting a comeback like that'. It's the exact same type of argument with the exact same evidence, but it's also bullshit.

What are they putting in the water these days?

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mickeyoneill May 24, 2011 7:16 pm

Gav, I think anon. @ 7.40pm was being sarcastic... considering the ridiculous scores and switching of the lead in some SH games..

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 7:31 pm

Game of the year.

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Paul May 24, 2011 7:46 pm

Re: HC Champions Vs Super 15 Champions

In a WC and Lions Tour year the champions of the HC would travel to the stadium of the previous year's Super15, hence the advantage of end of season form being with the HC team, but home advantage being with the Super 15 team.

In the other intervening years when the Super15 finishes in late August, the champions would travel to the previous HC winners, with the advantages of end-of-season form and home advantage swapping round.

Thats the only way I can see it working at the moment.
With the Super15 team having perhaps a midweek game when they host, and the HC team coming back from a break with little momentum when they host, it means that the advantage is actually with the traveling team, and the year when a home team wins would reveal real champs, with the title most likely swapping over and back between the hemispheres every other year.
The hindrance of an additional game in the middle of a short fast season mightn't make it very appealing for the southerners, or the tired post-long season northerners, but when it's the other way around it's a nice post season trip for the southerners and a great game to have as a pre-season warm-up up north.

I think the main reason there's more appetite for in in the north is cause we'd love the opportunity to stick it to the types of "any super15 team would walk the HC" dunces who sometimes comment on here (most southerners I know are much more modest), whereas the southerners (dunces and modest ones alike) are just more comfortable in the subconscious superiority of the Super15 over the HC.

Which is fine, because it's the cream of the crop down there, shorter, faster, bigger and with less of the smaller guys like Connaught or Treviso. But the thing is in the North we like those guys, they and all the possible 36 entrants of the HC make it what it is. But mainly it's because I've been to a Super 15 final, with tickets I bought on the day when I happened to be passing through the city in which the final was on, and that kind of thing will never happen in a HC Quarter or Semi, let alone final, and for that reason I think we'll keep it, and be happy to do so.
Cheers

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Flipje May 24, 2011 9:05 pm

I just learnt a new word that defined Fighting Spirit.....: Leinster!

Just... Brilliant!

A happy (French) rugby lover

Ps: you need two to have a great game, sorry for theSaints

Psll: Colombes you are spot on about the refeering and about your comparison....

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Maximus May 24, 2011 9:07 pm

Haven't read the comments before.

Just wanted to say: epic match, intense and everyting, a delight to watch. Match of the year? Probably.

MoY in NH at least since I have seen nothing but long highlights of SH matches, so I can't compare. But does that really matter anyway?

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Maximus May 24, 2011 9:09 pm

^
BY THE WAY: 100th !!!

Much more difficult than to steal the "First" post!

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Anonymous May 24, 2011 10:34 pm

Ewww, Rob Kearny is coming to the Stormers....

Watch him mess up and cost us a final, what an Irish loser.

Not playing in the junior division anymore, buddy. ;) Hope he reads this and has a re-think. ;)

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Murph May 05, 2012 10:31 am

One year on and the form he's in, you still happy with that comment?

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Gav May 24, 2011 10:42 pm

Hopefully Kearney wouldn't be man-shamed the way Jean De Villiers was by BOD when he played for Munster...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXGgU81spdo

View Video

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maori slong May 25, 2011 12:34 am

Hey Gav, how many Lions Tours has BOD won? Lol, none.

How many world cups? Lol, none.

I don't think Ireland have ever gotten past the 1/4 finals, lol.

Georgia 10 Ireland 14.

Owned. Not even the "GREAT" BOD could score against the mighty Georgia and in fact it took a cheating ref to stop the minnow dog shit team from winning. lol.

Never the less, your team still got smacked out in the group stages, lmfao owned good fight bitch.

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Anonymous May 25, 2011 12:37 am

Oh and common knowledge is that when you go up North you get a free holiday with that pay check.

Quality SH players can drop their standards a lot and still look a decent player and thus getting a free holiday with big pay.

Owned good fight go cry.

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Anonymous May 25, 2011 1:54 am

maori slong stop acting like the hideous spear chucking stereotype and giving the rest of the SH a bad name!

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Gav May 25, 2011 8:44 am

Lol Maori Slong, I don't think you realise how badly you have let down 'your' side :)

I don't need to make any case, you are doing my job better than I ever could.

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New Centre Pairing May 25, 2011 10:41 am

Yeah maori slong, BOD just can't live up to people like Dan Carter and Richie McCaw who have won loads of World Cups and made the finals every time.

And speaking of Lions tours, you do realise that BOD had to go home early from one Lions tour because he was assaulted by scum from your country don't you?

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Anonymous May 25, 2011 11:01 am

maori slong > That must mean Johan Cruyff, George Best, Ryan Giggs, Hristo Stoichkov and Pushkas are all terrible footballers because they've never won the World Cup.

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Anonymous May 25, 2011 1:19 pm

Georgia came for a fight in rwc 2007 and they fought hard Ireland had a bad year there. But last i remember NZ got fucked out of the world cup by France dident they? anyone can have a bad game or a bad run of form and when it hits NZ you will know about it.

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Gav May 25, 2011 1:27 pm

Ah leave him alone, he's either a kid or born ignorant. Either way, there's no point in taking him seriously.

On a different note, I see that Sean O'Brien won the European Player of the Year award. He's had a fantastic season.

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cheyanqui May 25, 2011 1:31 pm

New Centre,

That's exactly my point. You're saying the competition is "better" because the HCup cast offs are in it.

If that's true, then why not simply make a Heineken Cup plate competition with seeds 9-16, and call that "the Challenge Cup".

Why bother even having the top 5 Amlin teams participate?

I'm speaking of it from the spirit of competition -- that the teams not good enough should get to achieve amongst themselves.

Having them play against the 9th-11th Heineken teams makes less sense to me.

If anything from a competitive structure, they should be playing against the three WORST Heineken Cup teams.

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tilley May 25, 2011 3:34 pm

what does it feel like to see a full stadium SH?

and Foden best full back in the world no question

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Mike May 25, 2011 4:40 pm

Foden best in the world? I respectfully disagree - Leinster alone have two better fullbacks in Nacewa and Rob Kearney. And that's before you look at France or the SH...

But yeah, Foden is really growing into the role and improving all the time. He'll be a top player for a long time if he avoids injury. Lions fullback in 2013 perhaps?

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MoveOn May 25, 2011 5:42 pm

@ tilley, yeah, the SH only manages to get 25 000 in 50 000 seaters.. sorry.

What's the Bath/Gloucester/etc capacity again?

Lame comment mate. Cheapshot.

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themull May 25, 2011 6:00 pm

Great game from both sides..Was amazing to watch...Just to add to what already has been said, it was quiet clear that O' Driscoll was certainly not fit to play..I've never seen him fall of tackles like that or get stepped inside on so much

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Anonymous May 25, 2011 7:04 pm

Lol, Im an England fan through and through but tilley dont talk crap.

Foden is FAR from the best full back in the world. He has had SO little big game time to actually prove what he has. Ofcourse in all the games he has played im pretty sure he has stepped up, but he is not the best full back... at least not yet anyway!

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Flipje May 25, 2011 7:43 pm

@ Mike,

"Foden best in the world? I respectfully disagree"

Not the best full back in the world but clearly in Europe I would say.

As for France? Seriously mate are you referring to 90's? ;-)

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Anonymous May 26, 2011 3:28 pm

"Ewww, Rob Kearny is coming to the Stormers....

Watch him mess up and cost us a final, what an Irish loser.

Not playing in the junior division anymore, buddy. ;) Hope he reads this and has a re-think. ;)"

lol funny how he played flawlessly when the Lions beat South Africa and how he played when Ireland beat South Africa.Mounted a decent counter attack and never dropped a ball despite SA throwing everything they had. Bring on the next retarded comment!

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Tilley May 27, 2011 7:03 am

You have to look at it in the bigger picture, aukland Durban Sydney all huge cities with no super 15 teams too close to them but england- bath gloucester Exeter Worcester are all a stone throw away compared to super15 and England is a football country 100% and in london there is four teams compeating with football so that's why attendances aren't ad low at least we don't build huge stadiums THINKING were getting big crowds. 25k in super15 stadiums is dissapointing. and as for foden I think he can be the best in the world strong quick agile good kick on him. world cup watch out!

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Anonymous May 27, 2011 12:19 pm

rofl at world beater foden :D

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Anonymous May 29, 2011 5:05 am

Tilley, there's so much wrong with your logic it's ridiculous.
25,000 people, is 25,000 people.
It doesn't matter what the size of the stadium is. And the stadiums aren't built just for rugby union.
Every situation is differnet.
So for example, Auckland is tiny compared to London. They can't justify having ten different stadiums of various sizes. So they have Eden Park and one or two other, like North Harbour (20,000 att).
And this season the Blues have gotten crowds upwards of 35,000 a couple times and usually above 20,000. So your suggestion is they use a smaller stadium, restricting their overall attendence figures, because you don't like how it looks on tv when a 50,000 capacity stadium is half or three quarters full??
And the Wartahs (Sydney) compete at the Sydney Football Stadium.
This stadium was certainly not built for rugby union, it was built mainly for rugby league.
Rugby union in Australia is a fringe sport, as much as it is in England.
Sydney has ten proffesional rugby league teams, a proffesional soccer team, pro basketball team, pro baseball team, a proffesional AFL team with another due next year, pro netball teams and the waratahs.
There's alot of competition.

But again, the Tahs often get more than 30,000, sometime smore than 40,000 people to their games.
Why would they play at a smaller stadium and restrict their chances of getting large corwds?


And most of all what does any of this have to do with the HC Final?

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