Leinster facing uphill battle

Mon, 10 Dec 2012 09:09
Large joe schmidt630

Leinster's defeat to Clermont Auvergne has forced their coach Joe Schmidt to plot an alternative route to the knock-out stages of the European Cup.

Leinster's "incredibly disappointing" defeat to Clermont Auvergne has forced their coach Joe Schmidt to plot an alternative route to the knock-out stages of the European Cup.

Having extended their amazing unbeaten sequence at Stade Marcel Michelin to 51 games with their 15-12 triumph over the side that beat them in last season's semifinals, Clermont will travel to Dublin's Aviva Stadium holding a vital five point advantage over their arch-rivals.

Not only that, with Leinster having scored only one try in three games to date in their title defence, the Frenchmen hold a significant advantage on that front as well with a dozen to their name. A bonus point win for Leinster would wipe out their five point deficit, but Schmidt is not banking on his side doing that six days after a bruising defeat.

"We have just got to get our points. We had five players missing in Clermont who are important to us and if we can get them back for rounds five and six maybe we can salvage something and scramble in as a best qualifier," admitted Schmidt.

"It is difficult enough to beat this team, let alone start chasing points that are very difficult to get. I don't think I could have asked much more of the players - they definitely gave it their all and there are definitely a number of bumps and bruises as a result.

"There will be a clearing station at midday on Monday and we will try to glue a few guys back together and make a go of it next weekend. It is incredibly disappointing because I think we were close enough to steal it.

"We dominated territory in the second half and created some good opportunities. We weren't precise enough and we lost a couple of key balls on our line-out throw that didn't allow us to keep the pressure on them," he explained.

More than 42,000 tickets for the return match on Saturday have already been sold and there is every likelihood that with a week to go the gate could surpass the 44,873 that witnessed Leinster's 24-8 victory over Clermont at the same stage two years ago, a record attendance for a European Cup Pool match in Ireland.

Leinster have a home game against the Scarlets in Round Five and then travel to Exeter to meet the Chiefs in their final outing, while Clermont finish in January with the Chiefs at Stade Marcel Michelin and an away trip to Parc y Scarlets.

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Sat, 22 October 2016
Saracens v Scarlets 16h30 Allianz Park
Ulster v Exeter Chiefs 18h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 23 October 2016
Montpellier v Leinster 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Zebre v Connacht 15h15 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Toulouse v Wasps 15h15 Le Mans
Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 16h30 Welford Road
Fri, 28 October 2016
Ulster v Munster 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Zebre 18h35 BT Murrayfield
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets 18h35 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 18h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Northampton Saints v Gloucester 18h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 29 October 2016
Ospreys v Dragons 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Worcester Warriors 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 1 1 0 0 5
Glasgow Warriors 2 1 0 1 5
Racing Metro 0 0 0 0 0
Leicester Tigers 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 1 1 0 0 5
Connacht 1 1 0 0 4
Toulouse 1 0 0 1 1
Zebre 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 1 1 0 0 4
Saracens 1 1 0 0 4
Toulon 2 1 0 1 4
Sale Sharks 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 1 1 0 0 5
Castres 2 1 0 1 5
Northampton Saints 2 1 0 1 4
Montpellier 1 0 0 1 1
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 10
Bordeaux 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 1 0 0 1 0
Exeter Chiefs 1 0 0 1 0