Schmidt: This one's for the fans
January 21, 2011
Joe Schmidt praised the travelling Leinster support © Getty Images
Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt was delighted to see his side secure the bonus-point win over Racing Metro which ensures a home Heineken Cup quarter-final.
The Irish province had already secured qualification from Pool Two, but needed a victory in Paris to make sure they would host their last-eight clash at either the RDS or Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Jonathan Sexton finished with two tries and a haul of 21 points, while Isa Nacewa, Sean O'Brien and Brian O'Driscoll also crossed. Speaking after the 36-11 win, Schmidt said the 2009 champions had wanted to give something back to the 1,000 Leinster fans who made the trip to the French capital.
"I think anyone who was at the game today saw the amount of support that travelled to see us," he said. "Our theme was that we owed it to our supporters, with the support they've given us, to give them the opportunity to come and see us at home in a quarter-final. I think the players, the way they played today, demonstrated the value we place on the support that we get."
Schmidt also praised man of the match Sean O'Brien, who continued at number eight in the absence of the injured Jamie Heaslip.
"One of the great advantages with Sean is he can play any of the three loose forward positions equally competently and he is just so dynamic so often," Schmidt added.
Racing, who were already out of the competition before the game, fielded an understrength team ahead of a crunch Top 14 fixture against Clermont Auvergne on Wednesday. Virimi Vakatawa scored a superb solo try, but full-back Dan Scarbrough admitted his side were always up against it.
"We had a team that was a little bit experimental today. We were trying different things and we went well initially, but they broke us down very well," Scarbrough said.
O'Driscoll got the final try of the game on his 32nd birthday and Scarbrough was impressed by the Ireland captain's performance.
"He did as all good players do, he's consistent," he added. "He did the basics very well and one thing that really stood out for me was the try near the end. He went right past me but he cut an awesome line for that. They're looking strong."
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