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SIX TRY LEINSTER DOWN EDINBURGH

Leinster: 49 (20) Edinburgh 10 (5)



Sporting history is strewn with the crestfallen faces and discarded hairpieces of those who have done all their talking in the pre-match press conference, and left nothing in the tank for the paddock.  Austin Healey's famously unwise assessment of Ulster's Justin Harrison a few years back being one classic example of the genre.

Unfortunately, Leinster's flamboyantly attired coach, Michael Cheika, will not make it onto that particular list anytime soon.  Despite the confident noises emerging from Dublin 4 this week, and the resting of Brian O'Driscoll due to a mystery injury, the Australian's side not only had cause for optimism yesterday evening, they delivered on the park.  Donnybrook saw the home side shrug off some at times spirited visiting resistance to wrap up the bonus point in the second half and, with Agen's win over Gloucester, duly won Group 2. 

Next week's visit to Gloucester will see the Dubliners go for the win that may well give them home advantage in the knockout stages.  Good luck to them.  They possess possibly the finest back division at this level in European rugby, marshalled by the immensely impressive Argentine Felipe Contepomi, and this game showed that their pack can play a bit too.  

Edinburgh had nothing to play forthemselves, and their cause was not helped greatly by the loss of veteran stand-off Duncan "Hodgey" Hodge prior to the game, and both centres before the first half was out.  On the positive side, it was a useful experience for the likes of Steves Lawrie and Turnbull to play against one of the Heineken's form sides, and there were some good performances in adversity, notably Alan MacDonald.  Nevertheless, Edinburgh's defensive work was poor and they failed to compete effectively against a pack that is, if anything, inferior to themselves. 

After the game, Edinburgh coach Lynn "Yoda" Howells said: "It becomes more difficult when you lose your two centres early in the game and you have to reshuffle your backline.

"That made it more difficult than it would have been but credit to Leinster, they were superb.

"They had 30 minutes in the second half when they were able to go forward and keep the momentum of the game up. It was good rugby and it's good to see a side playing like that - even though we were on the receiving end."

Things started badly for Edinburgh, when Leinster took a rolling maul fully 25 metres before the ball was spun wide, poor defending allowing Kearney the converted try.   Edinburgh stormed back, but could not convert pressure into points.  As so often this season, a lack of accuracy and basic errors cost them dear.

With 20 minutes on the clock, D'Arcy made a clean break off a home scrum, but a superb MacDonald tackle cut him down just metres out.  The ball was recycled quickly, though, and Contepomi crossed to double the lead. 

More Edinburgh pressure did eventually pay off, however, with tricky midfield play from Godman and Di Rollo seeing the centre find Hugo at pace to put the full back over for the unconverted try.  Two Contepomi penalties left the half time score 20-5.

Things looked up for the visitors early in the second period, with an alert Senio snaffling ball behind a Leinster defensive ruck.  Replacement centre Peter Jorgensen put Ben Cairns over untouched in the corner for the unconverted try.

Leinster increased their lead with a Horgan try and a Contepomi penalty, before Allan Jacobsen was carded.  The Leinster bonus point was secured with a Keogh try before Horgan notched two late scores to put a rather depressing complexion on a depressing game, and a depressing Heineken campaign for Edinburgh. 

SCORERS:

Leinster: Contepomi 1T 5C 3P, Horgan 3T, Keogh 1T, Kearney 1T 

Edinburgh: Hugo 1T, Cairns 1T

TEAMS:

Leinster: R Kearney; S Horgan, K Lewis, G D'Arcy (C Warner 74), D Hickie (L Fitzgerald 69); F Contepomi, C Whitaker; S Wright, B Jackman (H Vermaas 74), W Green (R Corrigan 71), T Hogan, M O'Kelly (O Finegan 71), S Keogh, J Heaslip (yc first half injury time-46), K Gleeson (C Jowitt 71).

Edinburgh: Hugo ; C Paterson, M Di Rollo (A Easson 33), M Dey (P Jorgenson 40), B Cairns; P Godman, J Senio; A Jacobsen, S Lawrie (A Kelly 55), A Dickinson (D Hewett 53), F Pringle (S Turnbull 63), S Murray (capt), A Strokosch, S Taylor, A MacDonald.

Referee: Pearson (England)