Rugby

'All or nothing' for final

2011-05-02 14:43
Brian O'Driscoll (Gallo Images)

Paris - Brian O'Driscoll has promised to pull out all the stops when his Leinster side face Northampton in the final of the European Cup at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium later this month.

O'Driscoll was a try-scorer in the Irish province's 32-23 semi-final victory over defending champions Toulouse on Saturday, but insisted that reaching the final meant nothing if the game was lost.

"Just making it to the final doesn't mean anything," the Ireland centre said, adding that Leinster, the 2009 champions, will be sure to have their "work cut out" against Northampton, comfortable 23-7 winners over Perpignan in Sunday's second semi-final.

"It's going to be another huge day to look forward to. Of course we are happy with the result but we will have to up our performance in the final.

"The intensity out there is so close to test match level. There are a lot of international match-ups on the field and it takes an awful lot to reach a semi-final of this competition and teams are certainly not going to roll over."

Northampton captain Dylan Hartley said discipline had been "crucial" in his side's win over Perpignan, their eighth straight victory in European club rugby's showpiece tournament.

"Before the game, we all knew what was up for grabs," said the Kiwi-born England hooker who was part of a Saints pack which outclassed their much-vaunted Perpignan counterparts.

"We're just happy to go to Cardiff. We know what knock-out rugby is all about. I'm pretty confident we can turn up for any job."

England full-back Ben Foden said the Saints were "delighted to be last English team" left in the tournament.

"We know we'll be up against a good Leinster team."

The final, he said, "is a one-off but we have massive belief in ourselves".

Leinster No 8 Jamie Heaslip acknowledged that his side wanted to create a lasting legacy after reaching a second European final in three years.

"Winning things builds the legacy of a squad," said Heaslip.

"We're trying to build an organisation that is successful and we're constantly producing really good players.

"I don't think we played our best rugby, but it's no guts, no glory."

Heaslip added: "Going forward, we'll have to take a look at the video (of the Toulouse game) because I don't think we played our best rugby. And to win this tournament, we'll have to be at the top of our game."

Leinster scrum-half Isaac Boss said all thoughts were now focused on the final.

"We've got to start thinking ahead now and look forward to Cardiff," he said.

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