Kelleher wary of 'difficult' Leinster clash despite rout of Stade Francais
Stade Francais 16
LEINSTER may have been able to ride their luck in their Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne, but on the evidence of Toulouse's overwhelming victory over Stade Francais yesterday, Michael Cheika's side will have to raise their game significantly if they are to retain their title.
After the honours had been relatively even at half-time, Toulouse made light work of their victory, tries by Patricio Albacete and Cedric Heymans following Yannick Jauzion's touchdown just before half-time. Out-half David Skrela also landed seven penalties and three conversions in a personal haul of 27 points.
Stade Francais' miserable season continues -- the men in pink have little chance of qualifying for the Top 14 play-offs and will almost certainly be playing in the Amlin Challenge Cup next season.
Although Stade had seized the early initiative with a try by prop Rodrigo Roncero, they had no answer to Toulouse's unique brand of dextrous physicality and were over-run in the second half.
Toulouse, though, are chasing a domestic and European double, and scrum-half Byron Kelleher is relishing the Heineken Cup semi-final showdown with old Waikato Chiefs mate Jono Gibbes, now Leinster's forwards coach.
"Jono is a coach there and he is a good, old Chiefs friend of mine. We will speak this week and try to catch up for a coffee and I'll try and ask for Leinster's gameplan," said the former All Black No 9.
"I watched Leinster on Friday and they are as good as anyone. We will not focus too much on them just yet but we know we have a few things to work on. Seeing the level of rugby this weekend means our performance will not be sufficient to win the next game. Leinster are a difficult team."
Kelleher (33) has pinpointed Brian O'Driscoll as a dangerman ahead of the clash of Europe's two best centres -- the Ireland captain will be in direct opposition to yesterday's man-of-the-match Yannick Jauzion.
"Brian is a world-class player and his performance against Clermont was exceptional," said Kelleher. "We have Yannick and he was fantastic for us today. If you look across Europe you won't see two better centres." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Toulouse -- Poitrenaud (Medard 67); Clerc, Fritz, Jauzion, Heymans; Skrela, Kelleher (Bezy 73); Poux (Human 50), Servat (Lacombe 78), Lecouls (Johnston 41); Millo-Chluski (Maestri 41), Albacete (Lamboley 71), Bouilhou, Dustautoir, Picamoles (Sowerby 50).
Stade Francais -- Southwell (Messina 57); Arias (Mieres 72), Bastareaud, Gasnier, Mi Bergamasco; Beauxis, Oelschig; Roncero (Slimai 63), Szarzewski (Kayser 60), Marconnet (Gerber 73); Palmer, Pape; Burban (Marchois 62), Rabadan (Taylor 41), Leguizamon.