Cotter cranks up heat on Schmidt

CLERMONT coach Vern Cotter has piled the pressure on his former assistant Joe Schmidt by declaring that Leinster are "almost unbeatable" ahead of the sides' Heineken Cup semi-final meeting in Bordeaux later this month.

Cotter revealed he had spoken to his fellow Kiwi Schmidt after Leinster's big win over Cardiff Blues and is expecting the text messages to flow this week as the two good friends prepare to plot each other's downfall.

While it will be Clermont's first foray into the last four of Europe's top tournament, Schmidt will be taking his side to France seeking to stay on course for a third title in four seasons.

Leinster beat Clermont in the pool stages on the way to winning the Heineken Cup last year and edged them in an epic RDS quarter-final two seasons ago, when Schmidt was still employed by the French outfit.

"You'd have to say that at the moment Leinster look almost unbeatable. They cruised past the Blues and they always focus well on the Heineken Cup at this time of year," said Cotter.


"We know we will have to produce a performance as good as, if not better than, our performance against Saracens to have a chance of beating them.

"We just hope to come close to pushing them.

"The advantage we will have is playing them in France and the players are really looking forward to having home advantage with our fans singing and shouting.

"The atmosphere in Bordeaux is going to be second to none."