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Leinster (20) 49 - 10 (5) Edinburgh,
Donnybrook, Dublin,
Att: 6,400,
Referee: Dave Pearson (RFU),
Saturday 13th January 2007, 17:35

All eyes had been trained on the match between Agen and Gloucester on Friday evening, and following the French team's victory, Leinster knew that victory over their Magners League rivals would bring progress to the last 8. The recent record between these two teams didn't seem to auger well for a Leinster victory with Edinburgh prevailing in 7 of the previous ten contests, the most recent of which saw Leinster lose by a single point at Murrayfield stadium in round two. Donnybrook was the setting for the round 5 match, and the old ground was abuzz with music from the Bective stand and the crowd in full voice awash with flags.

Leinster had lost Brian O'Driscoll with a calf injury before the match, and Kieran Lewis, took his centre berth with Shane Horgan returning on the wing. Rob Kearney was again deputising for Girvan Dempsey and it was he who opened the scoring for the home side after 5 minutes. Leinster mauled their first lineout up to the ten metre line, and following an exchange of passes Kearney evaded some loose Edinburgh tackling to dance through under the posts.

Edinburgh put Leinster under pressure in the early stages but were unable to put any points on the board, and it was Leinster who increased their lead after twenty minutes. Gordon D'Arcy broke to make some excellent ground, and Shane Horgan fed Felipe Contepomi to score a try which he duly converted. Edinburgh had closed the gap within five minutes, Hugo Southwell crossing following a lapse of Leinster concentration. Contepomi added two penalty goals before half time to see Leinster go in with a 20-5 lead.

If Leinster had begun the game brightly, it was Edinburgh who came out of the blocks first in the second period. Within two minutes of the restart Ben Cairns had crossed to close the gap to ten points. Any worry of an Edinburgh fightback was eased a few minutes later Leinster worked a reply. Following nine phases of rugby and some marauding by D'Arcy and Keogh in particular, Shane Horgan was given the easiest of tasks to dot down for Leinster's third try of the evening.

Backs and forwards combined for Leinster's next score, good work from Hogan set up a platform for Hickie to surge forward. Hickie fed Bernard Jackman who sprinted down the wing and fed Contepomi. The Argentinian popped the ball back into Keogh on his shoulder and Leinster had secured the bonus point. By this stage Leinster were rampant, and Shane Horgan added a fifth, his second, after 67 minutes. Once again D'Arcy made considerable ground before feeding Horgan to elude the despairing Edinburgh cover to score under the posts.

Leinster rang the changes in the last fifteen minutes and some excellent play followed from substitute Luke Fitzgerald and Trevor Hogan in gaining ground. Contepomi swung a looping pass to Shane Horgan in space who handed off four defenders to complete his hat-trick. Contepomi converted as he had done for 4 of the previous trys.

The game finished on a worrying note as D'Arcy limped out of the game, and Leinster will be hoping that he and his midfield partner O'Driscoll's injuries are not too serious. All attention now turns to Kingsholm next Friday night when Leinster having secured qualification for the last 8 will endeavour to secure a "home" quarter final.

Heineken Cup Man of the Match: Felipe Contepomi
leinsterfans.com Man of the Match: Bernard Jackman

Match Stats
  Leinster Edinburgh
Tries Kearney - 4
Contepomi - 20
Horgan - 46, 67, 72
Keogh, - 64
Southwell - 24
Cairns - 42
Conversions Contepomi (5)  
Penalties Contepomi (3)  
Teams Rob Kearney; Shane Horgan; Kieran Lewis; Gordon D'Arcy; Denis Hickie; Felipe Contepomi(capt); Chris Whitaker; Stanley Wright; Bernard Jackman; Will Green; Trevor Hogan; Malcolm O'Kelly; Stephen Keogh; Keith Gleeson; Jamie Heaslip. H Southwell; C Paterson, M di Rollo, M Dey, B Cairns; P Godman, J Senio; A Jacobsen, S Lawrie, A Dickinson; F Pringle, S Murray (capt); A Strokosch, A MacDonald, S Taylor.
Replacements G Easterby for Whitaker (67 mins); L Fitzgerald for Hickie (68 mins); R Corrigan for Green (70 mins); O Finegan for O'Kelly (70 mins); C Jowitt for Gleeson (70 mins); C Warner for D'Arcy (73 mins); H Vermaas for Jackman (73 mins). A Easson for di Rollo (32 mins); P Jorgensen for Dey (42 mins); D Hewitt for Dickinson (52 mins); A Kelly for Lawrie (53 mins); Dickinson for Taylor (57 mins); S Turnbull for Pringle (62 mins); Taylor for Dickinson (67 mins).
Sin-Bin Heaslip (40) Jacobsen (55)

by Sarah Lennon, © 2007-01-13