Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt admitted his side were “in pieces” after their defeat of Leicester in the Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final. The game proved to be a fiercely physical battle, and Schmidt hailed the Dublin crowd for keeping his team going towards the end of the game.
“The crowd didn’t quite get it for us but they certainly helped,” said Schmidt. “There were some very tired bodies out there tonight and the crowd getting right behind us made us able to fight for every inch.
“We always want to think we’ll be a better side for the next game, but we certainly won’t be in the next three days. We’re in pieces, and this game was as physical as it’s been all season. We just hope they’re feeling it too. The players were all very generous out there today with their bodies, and we’ll need a bit of sticking plaster and a bit of recovery time after today.”
The Tigers dominated possession in the second half of the game and looked dangerous until the final whistle. Schmidt continued: “We deserved it to be close. They were unlucky that Alesana Tuilagi’s knee was over the whitewash. Our lineout stats were today but our finishing was poor, and with no ball it was hard to get into a rhythm.”
Leinster will now face the winner of Biarritz v Toulouse in a home semi-final, both teams which Schmidt has observed closely during his time at Clermont.
“Biarritz and Toulouse are two very different sides,” said Schmidt. “Biarritz are a big physical team and their defence is very hard to break down. Toulouse are also very physical in defence and attack, but they’ve also got some exceptional guys who can create line-breaks from nothing. I’ve no preference as to who we face, but my preference would be to play here (at the Aviva Stadium), with such a great crowd behind us.”