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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 21:25 GMT
Leinster hammer Swansea
Denis Hickie and Shane Horgan were both in fine form for Leinster
Denis Hickie's running caused Swansea big problems
Heineken Cup - Pool 4
Leinster 48-19 Swansea



A hat-trick of Denis Hickie tries helped Leinster make virtually certain of earning a home quarter-final in the Heineken Cup thanks to a comfortable 48-19 win over Swansea.

Leinster struggled in the opening half-hour, but then notched three tries in the 10 minutes before half-time after Colin Charvis had been sin-binned.

Match details:
Leinster
Tries: G Darcy, D Hickie (3), L McCullen, K Gleeson, V Costello, D Dillon
Cons: B O'Meara
Pens: O'Meara (2)
Swansea
Try: G Henson
Cons: Henson
Pens: Henson (3)
DG: Henson
The home side were forced to make two late changes with Irish internationals Girvan Dempsey and Leo Cullen left out as a precaution because of injury.

Gordon D'Arcy switched from the wing to full-back, while Aidan McCullen replaced Cullen in the pack.

An immediate Swansea indiscretion enabled Brian O'Meara to put Leinster ahead with a first minute penalty.

However, Gavin Henson replied with a penalty to quickly level.

Shane Horgan produced another fine performance for Leinster
Shane Horgan: Glorious running display
Leinster struggled to impose themselves and it wasn't until the 22th minute that they threatened the Swansea line with Brian O'Driscoll just failing to win a foot race after Denis Hickie's kick-ahead.

Henson's 25th minute penalty then nudged the visitors 6-3 ahead, but Charvis' sin-binning on the half-hour helped to turn the match firmly back in the home team's favour.

During his absence, Leinster finally produced a decent attacking move with Victor Costello crashing over for a try in the 31st minute.

O'Meara's conversion extended Leinster's lead to 10-6.

A glorious piece of running by the superb Shane Horgan enabled Keith Gleeson to notch Leinster's second try a minute before the interval.

It got even better for the hosts in injury-time with Costello's amazing turn of speed setting up Denis Hickie for a simple touchdown to make it 20-6.

We've got to be delighted to score eight tries

Leinster coach Matt Williams

Leinster continued the try-scoring a minute after half-time with Hickie outsprinting the Swansea defence to score after an O'Meara kick-ahead.

Some sloppy defending enabled Gavin Henson to reply with a Swansea try on 46 minutes.

Henson converted to reduce Leinster's lead to 25-13.

O'Meara then hit a penalty to extend Leinster's advantage to 15 points but he then made a mistake which enabled Henson to continue his solo-scoring for Swansea.

But while Leinster were error-prone in defence, their attack had no such problems and another Costello break was finished off by Aidan McCullen charging over for a try.

Denis Hickie completed his hat-trick in the 59th minute.

A drop goal and another penalty from Henson reduced Leinster's lead to 19 points as the home side eased off somewhat in the final quarter.

However, injury-time tries from replacement Des Dillon and Gordon D'Arcy brought Leinster's total up to 48.

Victor Costello, one of several players substituted in the final quarter, was named man-of-the-match.

Leinster coach Matt Williams said afterwards that his side had recovered after a "nervous start".

"We've got to be delighted to score eight tries which could prove very important when the permutations are worked out at the end of the pool," said Williams.

Leinster take on Bristol in their final pool match next weekend.


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

Swansea: G Swales; S Payne, M Taylor, S Gibbs, R Rees; G Henson, S Cordingley; D Morris (capt), C Balshen, D Dorsey, J Slade, J Thomas, D Thomas, C Charvis, J Bater.
Reps: C Wells, Tim Evans, R Jenkins, R Francis, A Thomas, S Winn.

Ref: Joel Jutge (France).

Att: 7,000


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