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Leinster 24-8 Clermont Auvergne

Leinster (10) 24
Tries: Healy 2, O'Brien Cons: Sexton 3 Pens: Sexton
Clermont Auvergne (3) 8
Try: Nalaga Pen: Parra

Cian Healy celebrates after scoring his first try
Cian Healy celebrates after scoring his first try

Leinster moved five points clear at the top of Heineken Cup Pool Two after an impressive win at the Aviva Stadium.

Cian Healy drove over for the opening try after early Leinster pressure and the hosts led 10-3 at half-time.

Leinster piled on the pressure after the restart and were rewarded with tries from Healy and Sean O'Brien, both converted by Jonathan Sexton.

Clermont finally broke through the home defence after 69 minutes with a Napolioni Nalaga try.

Leinster's bid for revenge for last weekend's defeat in France was boosted by the the return of Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip from injury.

Playing in front of a record crowd for a Heineken Cup pool match in Ireland, the hosts stormed out of the traps at a sub-zero Aviva but Sexton struck the upright with the first penalty of the game.

The pressure paid off after eight minutes when prop Healy muscled his way over from a ruck and Sexton added the conversion.

Clermont came within inches of a try soon after but they conceded a penalty after being held up on the Leinster line.

606: DEBATE
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Morgan Parra fired over a penalty after 17 minutes as the French champions began to dominate possession.

However, the scrum-half squandered the chance to put his team ahead by missing two penalty attempts in two minutes.

Leinster finished the half strongly and Sexton slotted over a penalty in front of the posts to leave seven points between the sides at the break.

The start of the second half was a repeat of the first - Leinster rampaging forward and a stunned Clermont failing to withstand the pressure.

Nathan Hines charged over but referee Nigel Owens ruled he was held up and failed to touch down, despite television replays showing the ball being grounded.

It proved to be a temporary reprieve for Clermont as Leinster remained in their 22 and Healy drove over from close-range after 44 minutes, with Sexton again adding the conversion.

Clermont were at fault for Leinster's third try seven minutes later, caught napping by a quick line-out and O'Brien raced through to the line.

Sexton landed the extras to put the Irish province 21 points in front and now the focus was on getting a fourth try and the bonus point.

But the next try went to the visitors, a drive finished off by Nalaga, although Brock James missed the conversion.

Leinster missed out on the bonus but they are in a commanding position to progress to the knock-out stages.

Their next match in mid-January is at home to Saracens before they complete their pool fixtures with a trip to Paris to face Racing Metro.


Leinster coach Joe Schmidt on his back row unit of Sean O'Brien, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip:
"Immense. It was always going to be a crucial area for us.

"I thought we might come under pressure at the set piece, particularly reading in the French media that they were going to deny us ball.

"A lot of what we worked on was getting our back row into the game and putting a bit of pressure on their ball, put pressure on them defensively.

"This week we were up for it more. We really had the bit between our teeth and were charging at them. It was a bit of trench warfare and great footy from both sides."


Leinster: Nacewa, Hogan, O'Driscoll, D'Arcy, McFadden, J Sexton, Reddan, Healy, Strauss, Ross, Cullen, Hines, O'Brien, Jennings, Heaslip.
Replacements: Boss for Reddan (57), van der Merwe for Healy (62), Newland for Ross (71), Toner for Cullen (63). Not Used: Harris-Wright, D. Ryan, Berne, D. Kearney.

Clermont Auvergne: Baby, Nalaga, Rougerie, Williams, Malzieu, James, Parra, Domingo, Paulo, Zirakashvili, Pierre, Privat, Bonnaire, Lapandry, Lauaki.
Replacements: Lavea for Baby (73), Senio for Parra (66), Ledesma for Domingo (40), Faure for Paulo (50), Ric for Zirakashvili (72), Jacquet for Privat (66), Audebert for Lapandry (40), Vermeulen for Lauaki (50).

Att: 44,873

Ref: N Owens (WRFU).



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see also
Clermont Auvergne 20-13 Leinster
12 Dec 10 |  Rugby Union
Leinster handed O'Driscoll boost
02 Dec 10 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 29-9 Argentina
28 Nov 10 |  Rugby Union


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