Belfast Telegraph

Schmidt salutes Leinster’s record haul

By David McNeil

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt could not have been happier after his team inflicted a record Heineken Cup defeat on shellshocked Bath to open up a six-point lead in Pool Three at a packed Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

The seven-try 52-27 rout was the heaviest defeat suffered by Bath in 69 matches in the competition — their previous worst having been a 31-9 loss at Munster in 2000 — and the first time they had conceded 50 points in a Heineken Cup game.

The visitors came back with three late tries to make the final score slightly more respectable, but it was a powerful declaration of intent from the defending champions.

Schmidt said: “We are obviously delighted to get the five points and with the way some of the tries were scored, also some of the running lines, some of the quality in the pass...

“We've come a long way from drawing at Montpellier but that was probably only our second or third game together.”

The West Country side had run Leinster close (18-13) six days previously but this time had no answer to their opponents' pace and precision, especially in the first hour.

Leinster could even afford to lose skipper Leo Cullen to the sin-bin in the first half — and still score 14 unanswered points.

Schmidt enthused: “Fortunately it was exhibited in fantastic conditions in front of a fantastic crowd tonight.

“I think that's certainly something that sparks a real enthusiasm among the players.”

The bonus point was secured just 30 seconds into the second half as Luke Fitzgerald sprinted half the length of the field to score his second try.

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton finished with 20 points from a try, dropped goal and six conversions and Leinster's other scorers were Rob Kearney, Eoin Reddan, Rhys Ruddock and Ian Madigan. Isa Nacewa also kicked a conversion.

Stephen Donald, Dave Attwood and Ben Williams grabbed late tries for Bath and Olly Barkley kicked three conversions and two penalties.

Belfast Telegraph


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