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Leinster 41-11 Wasps

Leinster (15) 41
Tries: O'Driscoll 2, Fitzgerald, Contepomi, Elsom, Kearney Cons: Contepomi 4 Pens: Contepomi

Wasps (11) 11
Try: Staunton Pens: Cipriani 2

By James Standley

Wasps' England winger Paul Sackey is hammered to the ground by Cian Healey
Wasps got little change from the powerful Leinster defence on Saturday

Leinster claimed what could prove to be a crucial Heineken Cup bonus point as they handed Wasps their sixth defeat in eight games this season.

Brian O'Driscoll, who was forced off with a knee injury at half-time, scored twice as the hosts took a 12-3 lead.

A second Danny Cipriani penalty and a Jeremy Staunton try made it 15-11.

But Leinster cut loose in the second half and Luke Fitzgerald, Felipe Contepomi, who kicked 11 points, Rocky Elsom and Rob Kearney all went over.

After an opening bonus-point win at Edinburgh, this victory puts the Irish province in pole position in Pool Two, with home and away fixtures against Castres next up in December.

Wasps, meanwhile, contemplate a must-win trip to the Scottish capital, where they have struggled in the past, next up.

Leinster have often flattered to deceive in European competition but have bolstered their pack with the addition of Australia flanker Rocky Elsom and South Africa prop CJ van der Linde.

The two clubs, respectively champions of the Magners League and the Guinness Premiership, have both made poor starts to their domestic campaigns but there was little sign of that in a cracking first 40 minutes at a packed Royal Dublin Showground.

606: DEBATE
MrAP

Leinster took the lead after just seven minutes as the hosts demonstrated - not for the last time - some fine footballing skills.

Kearney ran onto Contepomi's grubber kick down the left wing and slid the ball inside with his boot for O'Driscoll with a pin-point pass Wayne Rooney would have been proud of.

The Ireland centre, who looked rejuvenated now he is free of his long-term hamstring problem, managed to spin over the line and dot down for the opening try, with Contepomi adding the conversion.

Wasps soon hit back with a Cipriani penalty but Leinster once again produced a moment of dazzling footwork to score their second try.

O'Driscoll's first chip over the defence when he got the ball on the right wing was sweet enough but he then volleyed the ball over the covering Staunton, caught it on the full and went over despite the attentions of Tom Voyce.

Wasps spurned a chance to hit back when they chose not to take a very kickable penalty and were subsequently penalised after winning a line-out, having kicked to the corner.

And they soon slipped further behind after Phil Vickery was penalised, and sin-binned, for kicking the ball through at ruck.

Contepomi made it 15-3, but Wasps produced a storming end to the half.

Wasps second row Simon Shaw feels the full force of the Leinster defence
Wasps second row Simon Shaw tries to get the visitors going forward

Cipriani trimmed the gap with a penalty and then conjured a sizzling break from his own 22.

The move broke down but Cipriani was soon back in the action, with his pass setting up Staunton to go over in the right-hand corner, although the fly-half accidently took out Leinster full-back Girvan Dempsey to create the hole for his Wasps counterpart.

With their lead cut to just four points at the break, the last thing the hosts needed was to have the talismanic O'Driscoll fail to reappear because of a knee injury, but they soon shrugged off his absence to extend their lead.

Wasps scrum-half Eoin Reddan was charged down to give the hosts great field position on the visitors' 22.

When Leinster spun the ball wide, combative England centre Josh Lewsey hammered Van der Linde but the giant Bok prop managed to offload in the tackle.

The ball was shipped onto Jonathan Sexton, on for O'Driscoll, and the replacement got his arms round Paul Sackey to send Fitzgerald on a free run to the line.

Contepomi converted and also added the extras after he charged down Riki Flutey to claim Leinster's fourth try and a bonus point.

There was still more to come from the hosts and Elsom and Kearney added Leinster's fifth and sixth tries as they ran in 26 unanswered points in the second half.


Leinster head coach Michael Cheika:
"You are never in the driving seat. Every game is a final, and we understand that the next challenge will be another thorough test for us in this tournament.

"Wasps keep coming at you, and we knew that we needed to stand up for ourselves tonight."

Cheika on Brian O'Driscoll:
"The injury doesn't look too serious. Brian has taken a knock on his knee, and we made the decision to take him off at half-time."

Wasps rugby director Ian McGeechan:
"When five of the opposition tries come from turnovers, you are not going to win any game.

"At 15-11 behind at half-time, it was everything to play for, but we made a couple of errors early in the second half, and credit to Leinster for taking their opportunities.

"Everything is now down to what we do in the four remaining group games, but Leinster are in the driving seat - there is no doubt about that."

Wasps coach Shaun Edwards:
"Leinster's kicking game was on a different planet to ours.

"I thought they were far the more dominant side, but what happened tonight has been the story of our season. But there can be no excuses. We were second-best by a long shot."


Leinster: Dempsey; Horgan, O'Driscoll, Fitzgerald, Kearney; Contepomi, Whitaker, Wright, Jackman, Van der Linde, Cullen, O'Kelly, Elsom, Jennings, Heaslip.

Replacements: Sexton for O'Driscoll (41), Brown for Kearney (76), Keane for Whitaker (76), Fogarty for Wright (74), Healy for van der Linde (67), S Keogh for O'Kelly (74), Toner (for Cullen, 13).

Wasps: Staunton; Sackey, Lewsey, Flutey, Voyce; Cipriani, Reddan; Payne, Ibanez, Vickery, Shaw, Palmer, Haskell, Rees, Worsley.

Replacements: Van Gisbergen for Staunton (67), Robinson for Reddan (71), Webber for Ibanez (53), Betsen for Rees (72).

Not Used: Barnard, Birkett, Hart.

Att: 18,500

Ref: Nigel Owens (WRFU).

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see also
Heineken Cup photos
18 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup tables
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Castres 6-13 Edinburgh
18 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Wasps 25-11 Castres
12 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Edinburgh 16-27 Leinster
11 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup guide 2008-09
11 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Quins move fixture to Twickenham
27 Aug 08 |  Harlequins


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