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Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 16:44 GMT
Lethal Leicester sink Leinster
Leicester 29-18 Leinster
Leicester produced a storming second quarter to wreck Leinster's hopes of Heineken Cup glory in the last eight tie at Welford Road.
Leinster, the last team to beat the Tigers on their own patch, were 10 points up early on thanks to a controversial Denis Hickie try and two Nathan Spooner kicks.
But Leicester fought back with four tries in the second quarter to take comprehensive control of the last eight tie.
Leinster produced an impressive start with Brian O'Driscoll charging into the Leicester '22 in the opening seconds.
However, thereafter O'Driscoll was scarcely a factor.
Instead it was his Lions colleague Austin Healey, operating at fly-half for the Tigers who was the dominant personality in the match.
The early Leinster pressure earned a penalty in front of the posts which fly-half Nathan Spooner gratefully accepted in the third minute.
Leicester fought back to immediately threaten the Leinster line but the Irish province won a vital scrum when the English side failed to take advantage of the attacking position.
The Tigers continued to press but Leinster then grabbed a controversial breakaway try with Denis Hickie adjudged to have touched down ahead of Leicester's Austin Healey.
The try came after Keith Gleeson had robbed possession at a ruck in the Leinster '22.
In the wet conditions, Leicester full-back Geordan Murphy failed to gather Gleeson's clearance and Hickie was able to kick ahead before being adjudged to have won the race with Healey.
Leicester were incensed at the decision but Spooner's conversion meant Leinster were 10-0 ahead.
The English side hit back to score a try of their own in the 23rd minute with Neil Back getting the touchdown after a forward drive following a contentious line out.
Leinster felt Rod Kafer's penalty had gone over the corner flag but the officials ruled that the ball had gone into touch.
Geordan Murphy, not Leicester's regular goalkicker, failed with the conversion.
Leicester levelled the contest in the 28th minute with Healey's superb pass setting up centre Leon Lloyd for a tremendous try.
Murphy's second failure from a conversion left the match level.
Healey's superb first half performance continued when he darted through the Leinster defence to score Leicester's third try in 10 minutes.
Murphy's first successful conversion put Leicester seven points clear.
Leinster had completely lost their shape and when Freddie Tuilagi found Neil Back on his inside after a powerful left wing raid, the visitors were drawn across the field.
Murphy took advantage of the four-man overlap to score a fourth try which he again converted to put Leicester 24-10 ahead.
Spooner gave shellshocked Leinster a badly-needed boost from a penalty with the last kick of the first half to leave Leicester 11 points ahead at the break.
Leicester threatened the Leinster line five minutes into the second half but scrum-half Jamie Hamilton was penalised for not releasing.
The home team's pressure continued and another forward drive saw Neil Back grabbing his second try of the afternoon in the 50th minute.
Leinster were now in deep trouble with fly-half Spooner unable to kick the ball because of a thigh injury.
In addition, he appeared to be concussed but with Leinster having few options on the bench, the Australian stayed on the pitch.
However, the Irish side fought back to claim a try in a rare attack in the 57th minute with scrum-half Ben Willis squeezing over in the corner.
Spooner attempted the conversion but pulled the effort just wide.
Leinster did fight back in the closing 10 minutes but Leicester comfortably repelled the Irish team's attacks.
Leicester: Murphy, Smith, Lloyd, Kafer, Tuilagi, Healey,
J. Hamilton, Rowntree, Cockerill, Garforth, M. Johnson, Kay,
Moody, Back, Corry.
Leinster: Dempsey, D. Hickie, O'Driscoll, Horgan, Darcy,
Spooner, Willis, Corrigan, S. Byrne, Wallace, Cullen, Casey,
Miller, Gleeson, Costello.
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