Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll turned in a devastating individual display to help Leinster run Bath ragged for a 35-23 win in Sunday's Heineken Cup Pool Five clash at the Rec.
HEINEKEN CUP: POOL FIVE: Sunday, January 22
BATH 23 LEINSTER 35, The Recreation Ground (Att: 10,600)
Scorers: Bath: Tries: Michael Stephenson, Matt Stevens; Cons: Chris Malone 2; Pens: Olly Barkley 3
Leinster: Tries: Shane Horgan 2, Felipe Contepomi, Will Green, Brian O'Driscoll 2; Cons: Contepomi 5
Five tries and a quarter-final berth secured for Michael Cheika's side. A master class performance from Brian O'Driscoll and running rugby at its best. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday in the west country.
Leinster put Irish, and in particular Munster supporters at ease early in the game with tries from winger Shane Horgan, Argentinian fly half Felipe Contepomi and burly prop Will Green inside the first quarter. Cheika's men might have run out of gas at the end, giving Bath a fleeting view of rescuing their home quarter-final slot, but Leinster were not to be denied, despite tries for Bath full-back Michael Stephenson and prop Matt Stevens.
The win booked Leinster a mouth-watering quarter-final trip to the home of reigning Heineken Cup champions Toulouse.
BATH: Michael Stephenson; Andrew Higgins, Tom Cheeseman, Salesi Finau, Frikkie Welsh; Olly Barkley, Nick Walshe; David Flatman, Lee Mears, Matt Stevens, Steve Borthwick (capt), Danny Grewcock, Andrew Beattie, Michael Lipman, Gareth Delve.
Replacements used: Duncan Bell for Flatman (half-time), Andy Williams for Walshe (70 mins), Chris Malone for Barkley (73), James Hudson for Borthwick (74), Peter Short for Delve (76). Not used: Pieter Dixon, James Scaysbrook.
LEINSTER: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Gordon D'Arcy, Denis Hickie; Felipe Contepomi, Guy Easterby; Reggie Corrigan, Brian Blaney, Will Green, Bryce Williams, Malcolm O'Kelly, Cameron Jowitt, Keith Gleeson, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements used: Eric Miller for Jowitt (35 mins), Robert Kearney for Dempsey (half-time), Emmett Byrne for Green (63), Kieran Lewis for Contepomi (77), David Blaney for B Blaney, Adam Byrnes for O'Kelly (both 80). Not used: Brian O'Riordan.
Sin Bin: Higgins (Bath) (32 mins)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)