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 Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 06:07 GMT
Leinster all but through
Leinster 12-9 Montferrand

Scrum-half Brian O'Meara landed four penalties to give Leinster victory
O'Meara kicked two penalties in either half

The boot of scrum-half Brian O'Meara maintained Leinster's 100% Heineken Cup record at Donnybrook on Friday.

O'Meara banged over four penalties to allow the home side to squeeze past Montferrand.

Leinster top Pool Four and, barring any freak results, are huge favourites to go through to the tournament's knockout stages.

However, none of their victories were as testing as the visit of a tough Montferrand outfit still smarting from a home defeat by Leinster last week.

Although the game was not a flowing spectacle, it was nevertheless a rivetting battle played at a very high intensity.

Match details:
Leinster 12 (6)
Pens: O'Meara 4

Montferrand 9 (9)
Pens: Merceron 3

The first half was a bruising battle with the French side coming out on top as their pack controlled matters up front.

Leinster, though, looked dangerous once they got a bit of open space, but Montferrand deserved their narrow interval advantage.

They got off to the perfect start with Gerald Merceron firing over a first-minute penalty.

O'Meara had Leinster level within three minutes with his first kick at goal.

It was a fierce battle between the opposing packs, but it was Alex Audebert and Olivier Brouzet who were dominating the game alongside their live-wire half-back pairing.

Merceron, ably nurtured throughout by scrum-half Gregory Sudre, knocked over another two penalties, one six minutes into first-half injury time.

O'Meara's second penalty in the 34th minute, was all that Leinster were able to show for a hard first period.

Sustained pressure

Monteferrand, though, were given an escape route 10 minutes after the restart when Victor Costello failed to put away a try when it looked easier to score far out on the right.

We started very nervously and it took us until the second half to settle down

Leinster coach Matt Williams
Leinster stormed back into the game after the break, but time and again, found their drive to the line thwarted by some sturdy defensive work by the Frenchmen.

O'Meara finally got Leinster level with his third penalty following more sustained pressure on Montferrand.

Brian O'Driscoll, Costello and Shane Horgan began to motor and O'Meara then slid over the winning kick in the 68th minute.

Leinster did more than enough to defend their lead and it was a happy night on his home turf for hooker Shane Bryne who celebrated his 100th cap for his province in style.

Leinster: G Dempsey; D Hickie, B O'Driscoll, D Quinlan, S Horgan; C Warner, B O'Meara; R Corrigan (capt), S Byrne, E Byrne, L Cullen, M O'Kelly, E Miller, K Gleeson, V Costello.
Replacements: P Coyle, G Hickie, A McCullen, D Dillon, B O'Riordan, N Spooner, P McKenna.

Montferrand: S Viars; J Marlu, J Ngauamo, R Chanal, D Bory; G Merceron, G Sudre; S Delpuech, A Castola, S Bozzi, T Jaques, O Brouzet, A Audebert, O Magne (capt), M Raynaud.
Replacements: D Ashvetia, R Cockerill, L Vaitanaki, J Machacek, D van Hosselin, X Sadourny, Y Ngog.

Referee: Chris White (England).

Heineken Cup

Parker Pen Cup

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