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Schmidt happy with defence

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt was happy to avoid conceding a losing bonus point after his side's 24-8 Heineken Cup victory over Clermont Auvergne.

Tries from Cian Healy (two) and Sean O'Brien did most of the damage for the Irish province as they moved five points clear at the top of Pool Two ahead of next month's final pool matches.

They did miss out on a bonus point themselves but Schmidt said: "The win is particularly satisfying because we stopped them getting a bonus point, so in the head to head we are 5-4 in front. This week we were up for it more. We really had the bit between our teeth and were charging at them. It was a bit of trench warfare and great footy from both sides."

He added: "We did go a little flat in the last 20 minutes but I think the intensity we brought, particularly in the first 20 minutes of the first and second halves, might have drained us a little and we just lost our shape."

Commenting on the performance of his back row unit of O'Brien, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip, Schmidt added: "Immense. It was always going to be a crucial area for us.

"I thought we might come under pressure at the set piece, particularly reading in the French media that they were going to deny us ball.

"A lot of what we worked on was getting our back row into the game and putting a bit of pressure on their ball, put pressure on them defensively."

Number eight Heaslip, whose participation was in doubt due to an ankle injury, said: "When you get an opportunity to start you have to take it because there's a lot of quality in the squad.

"You've just got to put the effort in because you know that you're playing for your place. We're extremely passionate about what we do every time we pull on the shirt and it's a pretty happy dressing room in there."


From Belfast Telegraph