Heaslip savours semi-final win
April 30, 2011
Cian Healy charges forward for Leinster © Getty Images
Jamie Heaslip denied that revenge was used as a motivating factor for Leinster in their pulsating Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium.
Leinster emerged triumphant in the battle of the 2009 and 2010 European champions, with tries from Heaslip and Brian O'Driscoll, allied to 22 points from the boot of Jonathan Sexton, steering them through to the May 21 final in Cardiff.
Twelve months ago, the Irish province were left dejected by a 26-16 semi-final defeat to Toulouse at the Stade Municipal. The shoe was on the other foot today as Leinster won 32-23, but man of the match Heaslip was just glad to get the win.
"It wasn't a case of it being a revenge mission for us, not at all," he said. "We've got our goal set on winning the competition and Toulouse just happened to be the team in the semi-final. They played some amazing rugby and we didn't play our best, but no guts, no glory.
"Both teams had their purple patches, they forced the ball around, caused a lot of problems and we did too when we got into their 22. I don't think there was much between the teams, and we're just happy to have got past this game.
"It was certainly tiring out there, it was a fast game and the intensity was high. We have a lot of leaders in that team and that showed in the final minutes. We were just focusing on doing the little jobs, the little details. Trying not to focus on (there being) five minutes left, but just the next job you're doing.
"We're going to have to look at the video because we didn't play as well as we could have done. We'll have to be on top of our game to compete in the final and win this competition."
Shawn Sowerby, who came on as a second half replacement for Toulouse, conceded that Leinster were worthy winners after a titanic tussle between the sides.
"There wasn't much in it. I thought it was an excellent game, well refereed. He (Dave Pearson) allowed both teams to play," said the South African back rower. "As always in play-off games, it's the team that makes the least amount of mistakes and takes their scoring chances that wins, and that was Leinster today. They really deserved of the victory.
"If you look at the game that Sexton had, he scored a lot of points. We're disappointed we lost, but happy enough with the performance. We have to regroup now and go for the Top 14 title. "Leinster are a really good side. There are small margins between the top sides, and you saw that today."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action