Sport Rugby

Monday 18 December 2017

Dusautoir fit for Leinster showdown

Hugh Farrelly

TOULOUSE captain Thierry Dusautoir made a try-scoring return from a month out with a leg injury over the weekend to put himself in the frame for Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster at Lansdowne Road.

The 29-year-old had been out of action since March 26 but played a full 80 minutes against Bourgoin on Saturday as the European champions cruised to a 33-0 victory that secures their place in the Top 14 semi-finals.

However, the flanker said his successful return did not mean he would automatically start against Joe Schmidt's side next weekend.

"I'm going to try to recuperate well but I'm not putting myself under any particular pressure regarding the European semi-final," he said. "The aim was to return but I'm going to give myself a few matches to reach my peak. I felt good even if obviously I was a bit wary because it was the first time in a month that I'd had contact."

As well as their captain, Toulouse's main strike-runners warmed up for their Leinster challenge by getting in the scoring groove, with wingers Vincent Clerc (twice) and Maxime Medard both touching down, while Yannick Jauzion grabbed the final try.

Meanwhile, Harlequins were similarly boosted ahead of their trip to Limerick for the Challenge Cup semi-final showdown with Munster after a 38-3 victory in Leeds yesterday.

Conor O'Shea's men crossed for five tries to keep themselves in the frame for Heineken Cup top-six qualification, with Joe Gray, Danny Care, Mike Brown, Nick Easter and Jordan Turner-Hall all crossing to leave Leeds needing at least a bonus point from their trip to Northampton to have any chance of staying up.

"Now it's about bringing our game to Munster," said a satisfied O'Shea. "If we continue to play like this then we can continue playing for the ultimate challenge."

Irish Independent

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