Rugby

Leinster late-show stuns Saints

2011-05-21 20:06
Brian O'Driscoll

Cardiff - Jonathan Sexton inspired Leinster to the greatest comeback ever in a European Cup final as they beat Northampton 33-22 here at the Millennium Stadium here on Saturday.

The Irish province were 22-6 down at half-time but, with outside-half Sexton to the fore, they stunned a Northampton side who could not manage a single score in the second half.

Ireland international Sexton scored two tries, just after the break, that knocked the stuffing out of Northampton to add to three conversions and four penalties for a personal haul of 28 points.

Leinster become the fifth side in the history of the competition to win it more than once, joining Wasps, Toulouse, Leicester and Munster.

But for 40 minutes it looked like 2000 winners Northampton would be making up the quintet.

But Sexton, a pivotal figure in Ireland’s Six Nations win over England in Dublin in March, did a similar job at club level as Leinster made it two European Cup triumphs in three years.

Leinster had clearly taken a gamble on the fitness of Brian O'Driscoll, the Ireland great included despite struggling with a knee injury all week.

Thanks to Northampton's excellent start the centre did not touch the ball for 20 minutes and when he did get a break going he was tackled by England full-back Ben Foden.

But the 118-times capped O'Driscoll made Northampton pay in the second when, in concert with Sexton, he put them to the sword.

Northampton were on the front foot in the scrum, even when prop Brian Mujati was sin-binned in the 26th minute, by which time the 2000 European Cup winners were 10-3 up.

Flanker Phil Dowson had opened the scoring in the seventh minute after being put away by Jon Clarke.

Although Mujati was off the field, Northampton added a second try through Foden, with O'Driscoll missing a vital tackle close to the line.

And when Northampton captain Dylan Hartley bundled over just before the break, the underdogs were in control.

But Leinster came out like men possessed at the start of the second half, with Sexton going over four minutes after the break and centre Gordon D'Arcy going close shortly afterwards.

D'Arcy was denied by the video referee when he was held up over the line by the desperate Northampton defence but the force was suddenly with the Irishmen.

Sexton went over for his second try and with his conversion took Leinster to within two points and now it was Northampton, beaten by Leicester in last weekend's English Premiership semi-final, who were hanging on for their lives.

Sexton's 57th minute penalty gave Leinster the lead and by then they had scored 17 unanswered points in 17 minutes since half-time and were a transformed side from the cowed team that appeared in the first half.

O'Driscoll also looked a different player from the peripheral figure in the opening period. Nathan Hines went over for Leinster's third try and Northampton had no answers.

Read more on:    heineken cup  |  leinster
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Lambie hoping to flex biceps

2014-07-23 18:00

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

We're down to four teams left in contention for the 2014 Super Rugby title. Who will be crowned champions?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.