Rugby

Leinster book quarters spot

2012-01-15 17:20
Jonathan Sexton (File)

Paris - Defending champions Leinster joined rival Irish province Munster in qualifying for the quarter-finals of the European Cup after notching up a hard-fought 23-16 victory over Glasgow on Sunday.

Leinster, on 20 points in Pool 3 after five victories, will now face Montpellier at home in the final round of pool matches to book themselves a home tie in the knock-out phase.

Duncan Weir kicked an early penalty for the home side, later matched by Leinster counterpart Jonathon Sexton, in an opening 40 minutes that offered little in the way of try-scoring chances.

Glasgow retook the lead with a second Weir penalty and then withstood wave after wave of Leinster attack, finally conceding a kickable penalty that Fergus McFadden booted for the Irish province.

Leinster opened the second-half with a Rob Kearney try, the fullback latching onto a kind bounce from a Sexton cross-kick to cross the line, McFadden adding the extras.

Weir claimed a third penalty to keep his team in the hunt, but McFadden stretched the lead again with his second three-pointer.

Replacement scrumhalf Colin Gregor then bundled over in the corner and Weir hit the tricky touchline conversion to draw the scores level at 16-16.

But Leinster hit back with a crucial turnover in Warriors' territory, and Kiwi-born Ireland international scrumhalf Isaac Boss spun over from close range for a try under the posts.

With five minutes remaining, Leinster flanker Sean O'Brien was yellow-carded, but the Irish team rebuffed a revitalised Glasgow side to hold on for the win.

Two-time European Cup champions Munster reached the quarters for the 13th time on Saturday with a battling 26-10 win over Castres.

Four-time champions Toulouse clinched a four-try, bonus-point 24-3 win over Connacht which gave them a two-point at the top of Pool Six over Harlequins who defeated Gloucester 20-14.

In Pool Two, Cardiff Blues beat London Irish with Welsh skipper Sam Warburton grabbing the only try of the game early in the second half.

The win moved Cardiff to 17 points, the same as Edinburgh who had needed a last-minute drop goal from replacement flyhalf Phil Godman to secure a 27-24 win over Racing Metro on Friday.

Cardiff face Racing in their final match next weekend as they look to reach the knock-out stages for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

English champions Saracens downed French outfit Biarritz 20-16 in London in the weekend's last game.

European Cup results on Sunday, the fifth and penultimate weekend of pool matches:

Pool 3

Glasgow (SCO) 16 Leinster (IRL) 23

Pool 5

Saracens (ENG) 20 Biarritz (FRA) 16

Saturday:

Pool 1

Scarlets (WAL) 17 Northampton (ENG) 29
Munster (IRL) 26 Castres (FRA) 10

Pool 2

London Irish (ENG) 15 Cardiff Blues (WAL) 22

Pool 3

Montpellier (FRA) 24 Bath (ENG) 22

Pool 4

Aironi (ITA) 0 Clermont Auvergne (FRA) 82

Pool 6

Toulouse (FRA) 24 Connacht (IRL) 3
Harlequins (ENG) 20 Gloucester (ENG) 14

Friday:

Pool 2

Racing Metro (FRA) 24 Edinburgh (SCO) 27

Pool 4

Ulster (IRL) 41 Leicester (ENG) 7

Pool 5

Ospreys (WAL) 44 Treviso (ITA) 17

Read more on:    heineken cup  |  jonathan sexton
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