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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 19:48 GMT 20:48 UK
Leinster off to winning start
Shane Horgan
Shane Horgan is held up by the Toulouse defence

Leinster 40-10 Toulouse

Leinster kicked-off their Heineken Cup campaign with a comfortable win at Donnybrook.

The Irish province held a commanding 26-3 lead after playing with the wind in the first half and Toulouse were unable to mount a serious recovery in the second period.

Leinster opened up a healthy 12-0 lead inside the first half-hour thanks to four perfectly taken penalties from Australian outside-half Nathan Spooner.

Toulouse responded with a Nicolas Jeanjean drop goal on 31 minutes, but their hopes of getting back into the match before half-time were wrecked when Brian O'Driscoll touched down two minutes later.

Superb kicking

Spooner started the move with a brilliant pass to put Shane Horgan in the clear.

The centre charged up field to offload to full-back Girvan Dempsey who was within a yard of the try line when he was hauled to the ground.

Denis Hickie
Denis Hickie scored a late try for Leinster

O'Driscoll picked the ball up and dived American football-style over the ruck to touch down. Spooner continued his superb kicking display by converting, and Leinster were in a 19-3 lead.

O'Driscoll turned provider two minutes before the break when he set up O'Kelly to charge over the line after a well-worked Leinster line-out.

Again Spooner converted, and Leinster went in at half-time 26-3 in front.

David Aucagne missed an early penalty opportunity right in front of the posts on 43 minutes for Toulouse.

But he made amends a minute later when he swept a long pass across field from left to right to Jeanjean, who passed the ball on to spare man Michel Marfaing in the corner.

He managed to run behind and close to the posts to give Aucagne a simple conversion and put the 1995 European champions back in the hunt.

But another Aucagne penalty chance went begging in the 50th minute - and with it went their chances of rescuing the points.

However hard Toulouse tried to gain ground, their attempts were swallowed up by a keen and solid Leinster defence.

Team effort

As the clock ticked down it was Leinster who were camped in the Toulouse 22 rather than the other way round.

Denis Hickie had a try disallowed in the corner when he put a foot into touch, before O'Driscoll finished off a great team effort and Spooner again converted in the 80th minute.

Deep into injury time winger Gordon D'Arcy put the icing on the cake with the fourth try of the night, and Spooner crowned his man-of-the-match performance by converting yet again.

Leinster: Dempsey, D. Hickie, O'Driscoll, Horgan, Darcy, Spooner, O'Meara, Corrigan, E. Byrne, S. Byrne, Cullen, O'Kelly, Miller, Gleeson, Costello.

Toulouse: Jean-Jean, Heymans, Desbrosse, Garbajosa, Marfaing, Aucagne, Fillol, Lo Cicero, Bru, Tournaire, Miorin, Pelous, Bouilhou, Labit, I. Maka.

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