Leinster delivered another passionate performance with their efforts rewarded with a losing bonus point as they fell to a 20-13 defeat to ASM Clermont Auvergne in the Stade Marcel Michelin on Sunday evening…Schmidt Post Match Reaction…
Speaking after the game, Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt said: “I thought we did enough to win, but the losing bonus point could be important at the end of the pool stages, so we’ll take it.
“At times we were close to their line but we let them off the hook and my disappointment is that we didn’t get the win. I know the values of Clermont and how committed they are at home, but we gave them a good fight both in our 22 and in their 22 as well.
“I’m proud of the way our guys played and the test next weekend will be exciting because both teams like to attack.
“We’ll get on with our recovery over the next two days and get ready for what will be the ‘fever’ next weekend.”
Shane Horgan got the visitors off to a blistering start when he displayed great strength and guile to power over after some excellent lead up work from Jonathan Sexton who took a wonderful Gordon D’Arcy pass to release Horgan in the corner.
Sexton added the points to make it 7-0 after three minutes. Julien Malzieu replied for the hosts three minutes later after a clever pass from skipper Aurélien Rougerie and Morgan Parra added the points.
The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued with Leinster enjoying more than their fair share of dominance and Eoin O’Malley, making his Heineken Cup debut, looked lively alongside the industrious D’Arcy.
Sexton and Parra exchanged penalties on 1 and 24 minutes respectively and the sides went in level 10-10 at the interval.
Clermont were fast out of the blocks and within two minutes of the second half pushed into the lead when Anthony Floch from close in. Parra’s second successful conversion made it 17-10 though Leinster again displayed resilience and Sexton’s 57th minute penalty reduced their lead to four points. Again Parra replied with a penalty virtually instantaneously.
Led by the superb Leo Cullen and the in-form Sean O’Brien Leinster looked dangerous and Shane Jennings was unfortunate not to be awarded a try in the 63rd minute after he was penalised for a double movement.
With the Irish province asking questions until the final whistle and defending with intent, Leinster could have gleaned
more from the fixture than the solitary point, but it was a small reward on a gripping night of European rugby.
CLERMONT SCORERS: J. Malzieu, A. Floch (1 try each), M. Parra (2 penalties, 2 conversions)
LEINSTER SCORERS: S. Horgan (1 try), J. Sexton (2 penalties, 1 conversion)
ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE: 15: Anthony Floch, 14: Napolioni Nalaga, 13: Aurélien Rougerie CAPTAIN, 12: Gavin Williams, 11: Julien Malzieu, 10: Brock James, 9: Morgan Parra; 1: Thomas Domingo, 2: Ti'i Paulo, 3: Martin Scelzo, 4: Loic Jacquet, 5: Thibaut Privat, 6: Julien Bonnaire, 7: Alexandre Lapandry, 8: Sione Lauaki
REPLACEMENTS: 16: Mario Ledesma, 17: Lionel Faure, 18: Davit Zirakashvili, 19: Julien Pierre, 20: Elvis Vermeulen, 21: Kevin Senio, 22: Tasesa Lavea, 23: Benoît Baby
15: Isa Nacewa
14: Shane Horgan
13: Eoin O'Malley
12: Gordon D'Arcy
11: Fergus McFadden
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Isaac Boss (Eoin Reddan, 61)
1: Heinke van der Merwe (Cian Healy, 54)
2: Richardt Strauss
3: Mike Ross (Clint Newland, 70)
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Nathan Hines
6: Sean O'Brien
7: Shane Jennings
8: Jamie Heaslip (Dominic Ryan, 42)
REPLACEMENTS NOT USED: Jason Harris-Wright, Devin Toner, Shaun Berne, David Kearney
REFEREE: Wayne Barnes (RFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Sean Davey, Robin Goodliffe (both RFU), TMO: Graham Hughes (RFU)