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Brive (6) 13 - 36 (19) Leinster Rugby
Stade Municipal, Brive
Saturday 17th October 2009, 16:45 (15:45 Irish Time)

European champions Leinster recorded their first win of this season's Heineken Cup with a comfortable 36-13 victory over French side Brive on Saturday.

The often rudderless match, played in near-perfect conditions at the sunbathed Stade Municipal, won't live too long in the memories of most Leinster supporters, but it will be an unforgettable day for replacement back row forward Kevin McLaughlin who bundled his way over for his first two tries in the tournament late on to seal a much-needed success for Leinster.

It was Brive however that opened the scoring early in the match when Andy Goode knocked over a penalty after Sean O'Brien was penalised at a ruck. The flawless Jonathan Sexton levelled up proceedings on ten minutes with a penalty from just inside the Brive half after one of several pieces of indiscipline the 1997 champions were guilty of over the eighty minutes, without ever incurring the wrath of referee James Jones' yellow card.

The game's first try came soon after when a lovely wraparound move involving Sexton and Brian O'Driscoll resulted in Rob Kearney bursting through the gap to put the champions five points ahead. The extras were added, along with another penalty soon after, following a Davit Kinchagishvili offence at a scrum, to put Leinster comfortably in control.

Goode briefly stopped the bleeding with his second penalty of the game after O'Brien was blown up for a high tackle, but two further Sexton penalties resulted in Leinster heading into the break 19-6 in front.

The third quarter, which started off with yet another successful Sexton penalty, saw wing Isa Nacewa sin binned for a reckless high tackle after both teams' discipline started to wilt in the afternoon sunshine. Brive took advantage of having the extra man as Gerhard Vosloo touched down from close range after a lineout in the corner.

Nacewa returned to the fold, and it didn't take Leinster long to respond to conceding only their fifth try in eleven Heineken Cup matches. After slick work in midfield by Luke Fitzgerald and O'Driscoll, Nacewa broke free on the left, cut back inside and released Kevin McLaughlin who barged his way over the line. A nervous few moments for Leinster followed as referee Jones went upstairs for confirmation, but the try was awarded and the result was all but secured.

Leinster pushed for the bonus point in the final ten minutes, but a fine Eoin Reddan break couldn't be converted into a try and a CJ van der Linde effort was chalked off after Devin Toner's pass was quite rightly adjudged to have drifted forward. Leinster's assault was temporarily halted as O'Driscoll and Goode were involved in an altercation after the Ireland captain thought Goode was guilty of an unnecessary use of his boot on a stranded teammate on the floor.

Van der Linde, who finally got on the field for the first time in ten months after his toe injury, had a big say in Leinster's third and final try. The Leinster scrum, which had the upper hand throughout the match, decimated its counterpart and McLaughlin secured his brace with an easy finish in the final play of the match. Replacement outside half Shaun Berne converted the score and Leinster left the field not only relieved to finally pick up a win in this season's competition, but also slightly disappointed the bonus point wasn't picked up in this, the now tightest of pools.

Match Statistics


Leinster Rugby
Tries Vosloo
McLaughlin (2)
Conversions Goode

Sexton (2)
Penalties Goode (2)

Sexton (5)
Sin Bin

Nacewa (49-59)

Teams Fabrice Estebanez (C)
15 Rob Kearney
Alexis Palisson
14 Shane Horgan
Jamie Noon
13 Brian O'Driscoll
Lachlan Mackay
12 Luke Fitzgerald
Viliame Waqaseduadua
11 Isa Nacewa
Andy Goode
10 Jonathan Sexton
Shaun Perry
9 Eoin Reddan

Andy Goode
1 Cian Healy
Steve Thompson
2 Bernard Jackman
Pat Barnard
3 Mike Ross
Christian Short
4 Leo Cullen (C)
Damien Browne
5 Malcolm O'Kelly
Gerhard Vosloo
6 Nathan Hines
Vincent Forgues
7 Sean O'Brien
Antoine Claassen
8 Jamie Heaslip

Replacements Jean-Philippe Bonrepaux
16 John Fogarty (for Jackman, 46)
Petrisor Toderasc (for Kinchagishvili, 55)
17 CJ van der Linde (for Ross, 61)
Retief Uys
18 Ronan McCormack
Simon Azoulai
19 Devin Toner (for Hines, 68)
Jean-Baptiste Pejoine (for Perry, 55)
Kevin McLaughlin (for Cullen, 54)
Luciano Orquera
21 Simon Keogh
Ronnie Cooke (for Estebanez, 70)
22 Shaun Berne (for Sexton, 77)
Pascal Idieder (for Barnard, 66)
23 Gordon D'Arcy (for Horgan, 72)

Not Considered
due to Injury

Stan Wright
Eoin O'Malley
CJ van der Linde
Trevor Hogan
Officials Referee: James Jones (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Hugh Watkins (WRU), Barrie Gregory (WRU)
TMO: Huw Lewis (WRU)

by Leinster Zulu, © 2009-10-18