Round 4 of the Heineken Cup saw return fixtures offering plenty of surprises, writes Rugby World reader Sam Durham. Leicester held off Clermont, Gloucester narrowly beat Connacht at Kingsholm whilst Leinster thrashed Bath in a seven try thriller, writes Sam Durham.
Leinster had an outstanding performance, putting seven tries past Bath in front of over 45,000 people at the Aviva Stadium. Leinster chief coach, Joe Schmidt said “Some of our handling and some of the running lines were superb.”
But Schmidt expected his players to put maximum effort in throughout and said “We are obviously delighted to get five points, but we eased off towards the end which was disappointing.”
Clermont couldn’t manage back-to-back wins against Leicester but coach Vern Cotter expressed their players motivation to reach the final stages of the tournament. “We’ve had one quarter-final in the Heineken Cup and our boys would love to have recognition on the European stage – it would be great.”
But Cotter remained realistic about their chances and said “Ulster are still in, Leicester are still in and we are still in. I know this Leicester team is capable of getting a result against Ulster so nothing is done yet.”
Niall O’Connor was one of the stars of the weekend despite being on a losing side. Connacht fought right to the death to see an end to their losing streak but a last gasp try from Gloucester’s Jonny May prevented that from happening.
Connacht head coach Eric Elwood said “We felt this was the night we would end our losing streak and after the effort and commitment, it is a quiet dressing room.”
He added “We were in control of our own destiny and to lose it like we did after all the good rugby we played was difficult to take.”
Other results included Edinburgh beating Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield, Biarritz taking down Treviso, Ulster thrashing Aironi, Racing Metro beating London Irish and Montpellier drawing with Glasgow 13-13. Whilst Harlequins beat Toulouse 31-24, Northampton thrashed Castres by 45 points to 0 at Franklins Gardens to round off the weekend.