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Heineken Cup: O’Driscoll Double Downs Bourgoin

Heineken Cup: O’Driscoll Double Downs Bourgoin

A two-try second half salvo from Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll finally downed a determined Bourgoin, 26-23 in an end-to-end Pool 2 encounter at Stade Pierre Rajon on Friday.

A two-try second half salvo from Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll finally downed a determined Bourgoin, 26-23 in an end-to-end Pool 2 encounter at Stade Pierre Rajon on Friday.

Heineken Cup: Pool 2:
Bourgoin 23 Leinster 26
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: O’Driscoll 2; Cons: Holwell 2; Pens: Holwell 4

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Having failed to score in the province’s landslide 92-17 success at Lansdowne Road last Saturday, O’Driscoll was as his elusive best when slaloming over on Felipe Contepomi’s pass on 46 minutes, and his stunning line break with four minutes remaining, handed Declan Kidney’s side their fourth European win on the trot.

Laurent Seigne’s side did grab a deserved bonus point, on a night when they regained some much-needed pride.

But another picture perfect outing for Leinster’s New Zealand recruit David Holwell – who kicked four penalties and two conversions – saw Leinster move a decisive eight points clear of second-placed Benetton Treviso.

Bourgoin centre Jean Francois Coux’s scrambled try on 69 minutes, after a Benjamin Boyet kick had escaped Shane Horgan’s grasp, saw the winless home side to a 23-19 lead.

Nevertheless, three criticial penalty awards to Leinster in the final minutes paved the way for O’Driscoll’s late flash of brilliance.

A sprightly opening from the French, who made 10 changes from their disastrous Dublin trip, was undone by Holwell’s neat 20-metre penalty after a turnover from Victor Costello.

Bourgoin’s mentality was right for this one though and just four minutes later they took a lead they would hold for the next 40 minutes.

Impish fly-half Benjamin Boyet broke past the flailing Holwell, and shrugged off the challenges of Horgan and Malcolm O’Kelly to end his 20-metre run with a superb try.

Leading 7-3, the 25-year-old Boyet screwed a drop goal attempt to the left in the 11th minute, but with the visitors encroaching, full-back Alexandre Peclier – Bourgoin’s top scorer in their run to second in the French championship – tagged on a 30-metre penalty.

The kickers then went tit-for-tat in falling temperatures, as Holwell swapped lengthy efforts with Peclier for 13-6 before drilling over a brilliant 50-metre strike on 26 minutes.

Another from the former Wellington pivot – his 22nd success from 24 kicks in Europe – kept Kidney’s side well in it at the break, just 13-12 down.

Argentinian Contepomi then drew the tackles for O’Driscoll to outpace Peclier for the corner nine minutes after the restart, and hand Leinster back the lead.

With the Leinster lineout misfiring, and Bourgoin’s pack upping the intensity, the decision went right down to the wire.

Horgan was out-jumped in the air for Bourgoin’s second try as Coux just got the touchdown before Contepomi.

But O’Driscoll’s stunning break past the try-scoring centre, Glenn Davis and finally Peclier kept the Leinster machine on course for a home quarter-final.


(15) Girvan Dempsey
(14) Shane Horgan
(13) Brian O’Driscoll
(12) Felipe Contepomi
(11) Denis Hickie
(10) David Holwell
(9) Guy Easterby
(1) Reggie Corrigan (Capt)
(2) Shane Byrne
(3) Emmett Byrne
(4) Leo Cullen
(5) Malcolm O’Kelly
(6) Eric Miller
(7) Shane Jennings
(8) Victor Costello

Replacements used: Ricky Nebbett for E Byrne (71 mins), Gary Brown for Dempsey (76). Not used: David Blaney, Ben Gissing, Des Dillon, Ciaran Potts, Brian O’Meara.