Sport Rugby

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Blood, sweat and cheers for Leinster

Leinster 36 Ospreys 3

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Published 18/01/2014 | 02:30

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Leinster's Mike McCarthy leaves the field with a bad cut during the first half of the Heineken Cup clash with the Ospreys at RDS last night
Leinster's Mike McCarthy leaves the field with a bad cut during the first half of the Heineken Cup clash with the Ospreys at RDS last night

LEINSTER coach Matt O'Connor is backing his team to go away and win their quarter-final regardless of who they end up playing after securing their spot last night.

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Barring a miracle, the Challenge Cup champions will be away from home in their last-eight clash in April despite securing a bonus-point win over the Ospreys to top Pool 1 at the RDS.

O'Connor described the game as a "circus" after watching his team struggle to break down the Welsh region, who were down to 14 men for an hour after Wales second-row Ian Evans saw red for a stamp on Mike McCarthy -- who didn't return after receiving several stitches to the facial wound he suffered during the incident.

They eventually scored five tries, with referee Romain Poite awarding two penalty tries and man of the match Cian Healy, Jordi Murphy and Isaac Boss also crossing.

O'Connor allayed fears over the fitness of Gordon D'Arcy, who was forced off with a dead leg, while McCarthy, Healy and Rob Kearney are all expected to report for Ireland duty on Monday morning despite leaving the field early.

By then, Leinster will know the task they face in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, with Clermont, Toulon or Toulouse among the candidates ahead of the rest of the weekend's action.

"It is unlikely that we'll be at home, we let ourselves down in the Aviva against Northampton, that was the game we had to win," O'Connor said after the 36-3 win.

"We beat Castres away. What we have shown in the group stages is that we have pretty good confidence to go anywhere and get a result, if we can put out a quality performance.

"The three away games in the pool stages we were very, very good and if we can replicate that, then we'll have a chance."

Leinster will know their fate by tomorrow evening, when the semi-final draws will also be made.

Irish Independent

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