Another great Leinster win

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Brian O'Driscoll
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Another great Leinster win

Post by Mauler »

Sale 16 Leinster 23
Leinster got back on course for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a superb win at Edgeley Park to make amends for their shock home defeat by the Sharks.

Sale let slip a 13-3 lead in an end-to-end encounter to undo the good work from their win at Lansdowne Road after crucially losing fly-half Charlie Hodgson with a knee injury.

Hodgson, drop-goal hero of last week’s 23-22 win in Dublin and plagued by knee problems for the last 12 months, struggled after picking up a knock early in the game and bravely battled on until the 35th minute when he was replaced by Braam van Straaten.

With Jonny Wilkinson still recuperating from a shoulder injury, the latest setback for Hodgson will be a major worry for England coach Clive Woodward a month before the opening RBS 6 Nations game against Italy.

There was gloomy news, too, for Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan, with Lions flanker Eric Miller taken off at half-time with a shoulder injury and number eight Victor Costello limping off four minutes into the second half.

But Leinster lifted their game magnificently to overcome the double blow.

The Dublin side were boosted by the return of fly-half Christian Warner, whose absence with a quad injury proved so crucial in last week’s home defeat, and Gordon D’Arcy proved a useful deputy at outside centre for the sidelined Brian O’Driscoll.

Yet the Sharks, once more dominant in the set-pieces, made the best possible start, with winger Steve Hanley swooping on a rebound from Shane Horgan’s attacking kick and racing 60 metres for the game’s first try on six minutes.

Hodgson put over the conversion and kicked two penalties for a 100% record as Sale led 13-3 after only 13 minutes but van Straaten missed two of his three penalty attempts and they proved crucial by the end.

The visitors ought to have made more of two clean breaks from Warner but they demonstrated clinical finishing on 26 minutes when the ever-dangerous Horgan broke through the first line of defence to send winger John McWeeney over for his side’s first try.

Scrum-half Brian O’Meara kept Leinster well in the hunt with a conversion and two penalties and they hit the front for the first time on 51 minutes when the impressive D’Arcy sliced past his opposite number Chris Mayor and sent winger Brendan Burke over.

As van Straaten’s normal accuracy deserted him, O’Meara put over a third penalty before losing his 100% record and Leinster were forced to defend desperately in the closing stages before celebrating a notable success.

Brian O'Driscoll
Posts: 3907
Joined: February 7th, 2006, 5:11 pm

Post by ckav »

Ah yes, the day the away travelling support was born!! That great pic of Darce and Coyler with the Irish Flag was taken just after that match. Happy Daze......all I remember was my father looking nervously at Mauler, and saying "Jesus that big fella's had an awful lot to drink!". :lol: :lol:

Bitter As a Lemon
Posts: 339
Joined: February 8th, 2006, 4:38 pm

Post by Bitter As a Lemon »

Earlier that season

Ella Remains Upbeat

Leinster 22-23
Sale Sharks
Lansdowne Road, Dublin Att: 14,200
Friday 9th January 2004, 19:45

Match report
Leinster Lions coach Gary Ella was refusing to write off his team's chances of reaching the last eight of the Heineken Cup despite losing a 14 match unbeaten home record in Pool matches against Sale Sharks.

On a night of differing fortunes for the two teams in Pool 3, the Lions lost for the first time and the Sharks became only the second English club to win in Dublin as a last gasp Charlie Hodgson drop goal earned the visitor's a 23-22 victory at Lansdowne Road.

"Sale played very well, but the game was there for the taking. Our line-out has been one of our strongest features this season, but we lost more than we won," said Ella.

"Their attack and midfield were very good, but we played into their hands a little bit. We didn't get to the rucks and mauls in numbers as we said we would.

"Losing Brian O'Driscoll was a big blow, but it was the line-out which was the critical point for us.

"It's going to be hard going to Sale next week, but their win here shows it's not impossible for us to win there. To get through to the last eight you have to win away from home."

Heineken Man of the Match Bryan Redpath claimed it was "our best performance of the season" and revealed that some notes in the programme helped to fire up his side.

"We looked at the match programme and it said we weren't going to be strong enough up front. That really gave the forwards a point to prove," said Redpath.

"Now we just have to keep on improving."

Brian O'Driscoll
Posts: 3907
Joined: February 7th, 2006, 5:11 pm

Post by ckav »

We wuz robbed.

Gary Ella - true gent. :clap:

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