The three Irish sides recorded Heineken Cup wins at the weekend put pride of place must go to the Leinster Lions for their performance in the south of France when they beat Montferrand
The three Irish sides recorded Heineken Cup wins at the weekend put pride of place must go to the Leinster Lions for their performance in the south of France when they beat Montferrand with a late try from Denis Hickie.
It was an enormous achievement and one which sets them up for a place in the quarter final with home advantage, even at this early stage, now almost a given. If there was an element of luck about Hickie’s winning try – the pass looked forward on television replays – if was no more than Matt Williams’ side deserved. They soaked up immense pressure for the opening sixty minutes, kept their patience and their heads when the home side went 17-9 ahead in the second half and had the bottle to come back with two tries to secure a victory that was much more important than the just the two points. It removed the monkey from their backs of never having won in France and will have instilled a confdence in this side that bodes ill for opposing sides.
Montferrand will perhaps wonder how they lost this game but just as perplexing for them will be the return in Donnybrook on Friday. Having thrown the kitchen sink at Reggie Corrigan’s troops on Saturday for little return, they’ll arrive in Donnybrook full of trepidation – and rightly so.
One of the elements in Leinster’s success is Willie Anderson and perhaps the Dungannon man used the victory of his province on Friday night to inspire his charges.
Ulster played host to French champions Biarritz in Ravenhill and carved out a marvellous 13-9 win to put themselves right back into the quarterfinal picture. James Topping scored the all-important try from an interception and like Leinster, they then tackled their hearts out to secure victory. Northampton’s win over Cardiff means the road ahead for Andy Ward’s side is going to be long and hard, but it’s the type of highway that suits them and this is a Pool that will go right down to the wire.
Munster as expected had a facile win over Viadana, scoring nine tries in the process. Anthony Foley scored twice and there was a try also for Anthony Horgan on his return to the side for the first time since last May.
Next weekend, Munster travel to Viadana, Ulster make their way to Biarritz and there’ll be precious little space in Donnybrook when the Lions entertain the crowd and Montferrand.