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Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Saturday, 9 April 2011 20:11 UK

Leinster 17-10 Leicester

Leinster (9) 17
Try: Nacewa Pens: Sexton 4
Leicester (3) 10
Try: Hawkins Con: Flood Pen: Flood


Isa Nacewa scores Leinster's try
Isa Nacewa scores Leinster's try despite Horacio Agulla's best efforts

Leinster set up a Heineken Cup semi-final against either Toulouse or Biarritz as they proved too good for Leicester at the Aviva Stadium.

Three Jonathan Sexton penalties put Leinster 9-3 ahead at half-time with Toby Flood replying for the Tigers.

Alesana Tuilagi went close to scoring a Leicester try before Isa Nacewa jinked his way to a superb Leinster score.

Replacement Rob Hawkins' 77th-minute try for Leicester set up a frantic finish but Leinster held on.

Despite getting a few favourable calls from referee Nigel Owens, notably a possible forward pass in the move for Nacewa's try, Leinster deserved their victory after dominating Leicester in the line-out and breakdown exchanges.

The home side threatened the Leicester line as early as the second minute as Nacewa's kick infield was gathered by Fitzgerald who then sent Leo Cullen charging towards the line before the visitors conceded the penalty.

Sexton slotted the three points but a careless O'Driscoll offside transgression straight from the restart allowed Flood to level for Leicester from 45 metres.

Flood and team-mates Ben Youngs, Louis Deacon, Dan Cole and Tom Croft were back at the Aviva Stadium three weeks after their chastening experience at the venue with England.

However, Leicester were producing a more purposeful beginning than managed by Martin Johnson's team as the Tigers forced Leinster into a few early errors.

Sexton did nudge the home side ahead again with a 16th-minute penalty and Fitzgerald wasted a glorious chance to score the game's first try when he spilled a Richardt Strauss pass just short of the line.

Handling errors ended a couple of Leinster attacks but the 2009 champions were starting to look threatening with ball in hand.

Alesan Tuilagi and Eoin Reddan
Eoin Reddan tackles Alesana Tuilagi at the Aviva Stadium

Leinster's front row trio of Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross were also having outstanding evenings and maintained that form for the entire game while Leicester's prospects weren't helped by the first-half departure of injured second row Deacon.

A Sexton chip and charge yielded another Leinster penalty in the 37th minute which the Ireland fly-half duly slotted.

Leicester came out fired up after the break and Tuilagi thought that he had scored the game's opening try in the 43rd minute as he barged through some weak Leinster tackling.

However, the television match official ruled that Sean O'Brien's full-reach tackle had pushed the Leicester wing into touch at the corner flag and it looked the correct decision.

It appeared a key moment in the match - even more so when Nacewa notched the game's first try at the other end of the field four minutes later.

Nacewa gathered Youngs' aimless kick near half-way and after delivering to Shane Horgan, the Leinster full-back took the return pass before gliding past three attempted tackles and delivering a full-reach touchdown.

TV replays suggested Nacewa's initial pass to Horgan had been forward but there was no doubting the quality of the finish.

Sexton missed the conversion but the try looked like a decisive moment and Flood's woeful attempt at a straightforward penalty two minutes later increased the sense that it wasn't going to be Leicester's evening.

Leicester needed to reply quickly but they didn't create a scoring chance until Ed Slater spilled possession a couple of yards short of the Leinster line in the 65th minute after Manu Tuilagi's run from deep.

Sexton increased Leinster's lead in the 75th minute with his fourth penalty of the evening.

Leicester gave themselves a glimmer of hope three minutes from time as replacement hooker Rob Hawkins barged his way for a try superbly converted by Flood.

There was only a converted try between the teams but despite another Tigers attack, Leinster held on to set up a semi-final later this month at the Aviva Stadium.


Leinster hooker Richardt Strauss

"We knew they were going to try and bully us and the boys dealt with that very well.

"They are a side that is going to fight to the end and they put us under some pressure."

Leicester coach Richard Cockerill

"They are a good side. Did they deserve to win? The scoreboard says they did. We had opportunities. We didn't take them.

"I've nothing but praise for our lads and their efforts.

"I can't manage the referee if he's not penalising tackle assists and not penalising guys for not entering through the gate.

"That's up to him how he referees but it was refereed very differently to how the Test matches were refereed (recently) and refereed very differently to the Premiership."


Leinster: I Nacewa; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross; L Cullen (capt), N Hines; K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: F McFadden for Horgan 75, I Boss for Reddan 59, H van der Merwe for Healy 78, D Ryan for McLaughlin 68.
Not used: J Harris-Wright, S Wright, D Toner, I Madigan.

Leicester: S Hamilton; H Agulla, M Tuilagi, A Allen, A Tuilagi; T Flood, B Youngs; B Stankovich, G Chuter, D Cole; L Deacon, S Mafi; T Croft, C Newby (capt), J Crane.

Replacements: J White for Stankovich 75, R Hawkins for Chuter 75, M Castrogiovanni for Cole 52, E Slater for Deacon 29, T Waldrom for Crane 62.
Not used: J Grindal, J Staunton, M Smith.



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see also
Jeremy Guscott Q&A
05 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Munster 24-23 Leinster
02 Apr 11 |  Munster
Harlequins 13-17 Leicester
02 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union


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