09 April, 2011

Beauty beats Beast as Leinster hold on to secure multi-million euro semi-final pay day for Irish economy:

Follow hoogenband0110 on Twitter
SWEETEST SOUND OF THE EVENING:  The referee's final whistle.
There were exhausted bodies scattered all over the field at the final whistle of this evening's titanic struggle between Leinster and Leicester as Leinster held on to book a Heineken Cup semi - final berth.  This observer thought the game was over in the 50th minute when Isa Nacewa (just) got over the line for a spectaculor solo try which saw the home side into a 14-3 lead.  However; Leicester are two-time defending Guinness Premiership Champions for a reason and when replacement hooker Rob Hawkins got over for a 77th minute converted try; suddenly Leinster were praying for the final whistle.  Leicester were on the front foot and looked most likely to score next; though, crucially, with time almost up and largely thanks to Leinster's defence; that 'next score' had to be a try.  

Brian O'Driscoll showing the effects of a punishing 80 minutes
 "Good sides win the Heineken Cup. Great sides win it twice," - few would bet against Leinster doing just that this year

Thankfully; that final whistle came without further additions to the scoreboard as Leinster were clinging on for dear life at the death of a game played at Test match intensity.  The fact is that this was never a two score game and Leicester can count themselves unlucky to lose a game in which they had a monopoly on possession for sizeable chunks of the 80 minutes. 
Man of the match Strauss (#2) doing the hard yards in a Test level tussle
Two minutes into the second half; Seán O'Brien somehow forced Tuilagi's thigh onto the touch - line when he seemed to be in for a nailed on try and Toby Flood missed a hat-trick of penalties that should have been well within the range of a world-class Number 10.  Simply put; Leicester didn't take their chances.  Leinster did and that was the difference between the sides.
Isa Nacewa gets over (just) for the game defining score.....
....whilst everyone in Ireland knows what it meant.
"Isa Nacewa is one of the best players I've ever played with.  Like the great soccer players; he looks like he always has time on the ball. Some times I just stop and look at him.  We're sure it's the hair; the wave in it that does it!" - Gordon D'Arcy

"You can't say the (Leinster) crowd did it for us, but they certainly helped"
When asked for his preferred choice for the semi - final; Leinster Coach Josef  Schmidt replied by stating;  "I have no preferred choice for the semi - final.  My only preferred choice is that we play here (in Dublin).  I'm not saying that the crowd did it for us, but they certainly helped."  When asked if he felt his side would be better in three weeks time (the semi - final date); Schmidt replied by jovially (but truthfully) stating:  "We won't be better over the next three days!  The guys are absolutely out on their feet.  They are  extremely generous with their bodies."  That generosity will be rewarded with an 82,000 sell-out semi-final at Croke Park in three weeks time; and a multi-million euro payday for Ireland's economy.  A most welcome fillip indeed in these harsh economic times.  As Leinster legend and leader Brian O'Driscoll has always maintained; "Good sides win the Heineken Cup.  Great sides win it twice."  Few would bet against Leinster doing just that (and repeat their 2009 triumph) over the next few weeks.
Follow hoogenband0110 on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment