30 April, 2011

O'Driscoll comes up trumps again to see Leinster into second Heineken Cup Final:

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GAME DEFINING SCORE:   Brian O'Driscoll sees Leinster home once again
Brian O'Driscoll came up with a crucial try 18 minutes into the second half as Leinster overcame Toulouse in a bruising Heineken Cup semi-final at a sold-out AVIVA Stadium. 
The defending champions from the south of France were favourites to return to this year's showpiece in Cardiff, but Leinster summoned every ounce of desire and determination to hold them at bay.
The Irish side also played a fair bit of rugby and crossed for tries from Jamie Heaslip and Brian O'Driscoll, on their way to a deserved victory in front of a crowd of more than 50,000 at the Aviva Stadium.
Leinster also recovered from almost the worst possible start, as they conceded a freakish try inside four minutes.
Sexton's (eight out of eight) kicking helped see Leinster over the line
They looked to have escaped unscathed when David Skrela's penalty attempt glanced off the side of a post, but the ball took a wicked bounce back towards the field of play and Florian Fritz seized on it to score, with Skrela happy to take two points instead of three. 
The forwards battered away at the Toulouse line and eventually the relentless pressure produced a gap out wide. Sexton's slip looked to have wasted the chance but he managed to get the ball out to Heaslip who did well to squeeze the ball down between defenders, the video referee confirming the score. 
Leinster managed to go in leading 16-13 at the break, though the French champions came roaring back at them in the second half.
PARTY TIME:  Leinster celebrate the game clinching try
The intensity by this stage was of Test - match propor - tions and when Cencus Johnson was penalised for popping up at a scrum, tempers briefly boiled over. But Sexton kept his cool to nudge Leinster ahead once more.
Just before the hour mark they came up with the crucial try which pushed the difference between the sides beyond seven points for the first time. After relentless pressure on the Toulouse line, the ball was moved out to O'Driscoll and the Ireland skipper stepped inside two defenders and dived over. Sexton converted and the gap was nine points.
MAN of the MATCH Jamie Heaslip puts in the hard yards
Inevitably Toulouse responded but the outstanding Heaslip came up with a crucial turnover at a ruck and Toulouse had to settle for a long-range penalty from replacement Nicolas Bezy.
Toulose still needed a try though and they coughed up their final attacking chance two minutes from time when Yanick Jauzion passed the ball forward.
Johnny Sexton had the final say, landing a 10metre penalty as time expired and Leinster already celebrating a second Heineken Cup Final in three seasons. 

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