Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Leinster progressed to the Heineken Cup semi finals following a fairly one sided 34-3 win over Cardiff Blues in Dublin on Saturday. The home side scored four tries, but none better than this sublime piece of backline play, orchestrated by Jonny Sexton.
Fullback Rob Kearney was his usual commanding self as he scored two tries Isa Nacewa scored one, and the returning Brian O'Driscoll scored the other.
Flyhalf Sexton kicked 14 points and played a hand in most things, including the below try that featured an unforgettable inside ball which carved up the struggling Blues defence. Coach Joe Schmidt was full of praise for him, not only for his general play but for the regulation stuff too.
"His kicking is always top-notch. He's leading the Pro12 stats with 91.8 per cent. That shows the measure of the preparation that he puts in," he said.
Reigning champions Leinster, now undefeated in the Heineken Cup in 13 games, will face Clermont in Bordeaux on 29 April, a challenge that Schmidt says will be entirely different.
"The semi-final will be horrendously tough. To win away from home in a semi final doesn't happen very often. It is an extremely tough feat to achieve. There was a lot of pressure and expectation on us today, and I was really happy with our execution in the first half. We relaxed a little bit after that, but we defended our line well. We dug in," he said.
The Blues are going through a tough time of late, with distractions in the form of the recent Gavin Henson dismissal, and then more importantly some significant injury absentees. Wales captain Sam Warburton is out with a shoulder injury, Jamie Roberts is having a knee reconstruction, and locks Paul Tito and Deiniol Jones are also out.
Coach Gareth Babner says that things will only get tougher in the next year or so as they look to rebuild, recruit, and develop a new group of players. Xavier Rush said it's the end of an era.
"This is was the last time that a lot of these guys will be together in this environment on this stage. We wanted to end on a really positive note but it wasn't to be as we were beaten by a better side."
Below is the Brian O'Driscoll try, which features that quality inside ball from Sexton