| 11.7°C Dublin

Schmidt sets a new standard

Rugby Heaven. That is where coach Joe Schmidt has transported Leinster supporters to on the basis of convincing his players there is real competition for Heineken Cup places.

At least, that was the strong impression from the manner of their application and appreciation of the game plan which revolves around pinpoint passing and having more than one option at all times for the man on the ball.

Edinburgh started 10 of the side that stunned Toulouse last week. Leinster opted for three of their heroes, wrapped up the bonus-point by the 43rd minute, won 54-13, and moved 15 points clear at the head of the Rabodirect PRO12 league.

"Some super tries. It was fantastic for the players who were out there. It will certainly mean a few Panadols for the coaches," said Schmidt. "That is the way it is. Everyone is playing for a spot at the moment. It is a real headache. When someone is unavailable, someone else meets the standard straight away.

"If we can keep driving that, it makes for a very competitive squad and it will make for some tough decisions for the 15 and the 23 that will go out next week (against Ulster) and the week after (against Clermont-Auvergne).

"If we are not as good as we can be, it will be very, very difficult to beat Clermont," added Schmidt.

A devilish bounce from a Fergus McFadden penalty which rebounded off the right upright enabled Shane Jennings to pounce like a predator for a swift 5-0 lead in the sixth minute.

Edinburgh were merciless in their reaction, hammering the ball through the middle, exhausting defenders for fly-half Greig Laidlaw to put centre Nick de Luca in with ease. Laidlaw converted. It was a case of playing it hard and fast for both sides, Isa Nacewa and Dave Kearney sparking a counter which McFadden took home to recover Leinster's advantage.

Unusually, McFadden did not have his eye in from placed balls, costing the home side eight points in the opening quarter. He remedied this by squeezing a penalty inside the right upright for a 13-7 edge in the 28th minute.

A series of fast-forward recycles concluded with hooker Sean Cronin taking the ball at tremendous pace to bullet over for Leinster's third try for an 11-point gap just before the break.

The high tide kept rolling in. Ian Madigan's crossfield tickler was cleanly taken in the air by left wing Fionn Carr for the bonus-point in the 43rd minute. Nacewa converted.

Laidlaw was back for two three pointers in the 49th and 55th minutes to snip the deficit to 25-13. Nacewa clipped a penalty from a rapid attack and soon flew onto the ball for a sumptuous try in the 64th minute.

They weren't done. A textbook lineout maul travelled 20m for replacement Leo Auva'a to plunge over, a counter from the shadow of the Leinster posts was turbo-fuelled by Brendan Macken and Devin Toner steamed to glory for the eighth try to complete the rout.


Privacy