Click here for photos as the Leinster players celebrate their 41-35 win over Toulouse in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.
Pictured above: Leinster captain Brian O’Driscoll looks in reflective mood after his side’s stunning four-try defeat of champions Toulouse. O’Driscoll summed up the province’s performance, saying: “We believed in ourselves. We know we’re a good rugby team and that on our day, we can beat anyone.
“It’s a great result, but it’s not the final.”
Jamie Heaslip shows his delight after another barnstorming 80-minute display. The former IRB World Player of the Year nominee looks certain to be playing rugby right up into June as a probable member of the Ireland “A’ squad for this summer’s Churchill Cup in the United States and Canada.
Eric Miller and Brian Blaney, both products of Terenure College RFC, start the celebrations pitchside.
Leinster fans start up a chant. Reflecting on the win, coach Michael Cheika praised the travelling support: “I’m just delighted for the players and our supporters. They came down here in massive numbers. They helped us at the beginning of the game because we started well and the Toulouse crowd went a bit quiet. The players really recognised afterwards, how much the crowd meant to us.”
Gordon D’Arcy receives a commemorative jersey to mark his 100th cap for Leinster.
Some of Leinster’s chief game-breakers, Denis Hickie, Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll in the dressing room afterwards.
Cheika feels fortunate to have players of the calibre of the Ireland quartet (above) in his side. He said: “As coaches we like attacking and we’re lucky that we have the players to do that. Again, it’s a matter of believing in ourselves. But we don’t want to get carried away – we’re still a long way from the finished article.
“What we have to do is focus on our strengths and our strength is to run with the ball. We have the players who can do that. We needed to keep occupying the width of the pitch, even without the ball, so we could challenge them and so we could get the match-ups we were looking for.”
The scene in the Leinster dressing room afterwards as the players come to terms with their achievement.
**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**