Category: Archive

Leinster hope Celtic can be stepping stone to cup glory

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

And in fairness, they captured the title in style by thrashing the Welsh club, Dragons, 41-8 in front of their own supporters at the RDS in Dublin. The opposition wasn’t much to shout about, but Leinster couldn’t have done much more than run in six tries to emphasize their superiority.
Before the celebrations begun in earnest, there were standing ovations for Ollie Le Roux, who is returning to South Africa after a short, but impressive spell in Dublin, and for the loyal Keith Gleeson who was playing his last game for the province.
Le Roux thundered over for two early tries, and later Shane Horgan, Shane Jennings, Chris Whitaker and sub Cameron Jowitt would complete the rout while Felipe Contepomi added a penalty and four conversions.
If the occasion was to be savored, some long-suffering Leinster supporters would no doubt have been reflecting on yet another missed opportunity in the European Cup. Winning the Celtic League was certainly better than nothing, but failing to go the distance in Europe at the same time as Munster are preparing for a fourth final in eight years has left a bitter taste.
“We’re just outside the top tier in Europe,” admitted coach, Michael Cheika, “and we need to be more consistent on the big day to be right up there. And that’s our goal, no doubt about it. I don’t want to talk about next year, but we’re hungry for it.”
However, Contepomi, who scored his 1,000th point for Leinster during last weekend’s game, felt that too many people in Ireland are obsessed with the European Cup. “I think the important thing for Leinster is winning games. A league will show if you are consistent and if you are performing well,” he said, “in a cup you can be out if you have a bad game. Hopefully, this is a stepping stone for European silverware, but I’d like to take it step by step.”
Having already signed utility back Isa Nacewa from Auckland in New Zealand, Leinster have also been linked with the South African international prop, CJ van der Linde, as a replacement for Le Roux, while there has recently been speculation that the Australian, Rocky Elsom, could be joining to fill the void left by Gleeson whose retirement at the relatively young age of 31 came as a surprise.
“I know Keith has plans to go off and do other things,” said Brian O’Driscoll, “but a few of us have tried to persuade him to play on for one more season. His mind’s made up, and he’ll be a big loss.”

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese