Rugby

Saturday's Heineken Cup rugby as it happened

Carl O'Malley Fri, Jan 18
Pool 5
Exeter Chiefs
20
v
Leinster
29
LIVE: Rugby

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  • This event has now ended
  • 12:54
    Alright, this is it. It’s here.

    The big one.

    D-Day.

    Ol’ D-Dawg.

    The Big D.
  • 12:55
    Ahem, anyhow.

    Tomorrow will be D-Day as well, but we’ll worry about that over-egged intro when we get to it.
  • 12:55
    For now, we’re all about your Ulsters and, more pertinently, your Leinsters. See, Ulster have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Heino Cup already. Yerrrrrrr!

    But Leinster, defending champions, three-time finalists in the last four years, are in danger of being left out in the cold. Brrrrrrr.
  • 12:57
    There are a few possibilities. Basically, at the very least, they need a bonus point win against Exeter today at Sandy Park to have any hope. A Toulon win over Montpellier today would be a help, too.

    But then there is the possibility that if they get the former, Munster could boot them out of the reckoning with their own bonus point win against Racing Metro tomorrow.
  • 13:00

    Anyhow, the best place to bone up on all this palaver, is with Gerry Thornley’s permutations piece from today's Sports Supplement, right here.

  • 13:05
    Before Leinster take on the Chiefs, Ulster, who still need to ensure a home quarter-final will take on Castres at the Stade Pierre Antoine. That's previewed here by John 'The Gentleman' O'Sullivan
  • 13:05
    Kick-off in France is just half an hour away (1.35pm) and it will be followed by that crucial Toulon game at 3.40pm.
  • 13:15
    Even though this is ostensibly a rugby blog, there really is something we have to get out of the way. We need to talk about, Lance. And afterall, there has been enough gak in his system to play frontrow at Test level.

    Last night was Part Two of his Oprathon. It was billed as the weepy half. Here's a wrap and some video.
  • 13:21
    Ulster's task today is made all the more difficult by the fact they are missing fullback Jared Payne, number eight Nick Williams, Tommy Bowe, Dan Tuohy, Johann Muller and Stephen Ferris.

    That's a big ask for Mark Anscombe's side, but director of rugby David Humphreys has been bigging his boys up on Sky Sports and their up for it.

    15 minutes to go now.
  • 13:34
    Before we get started, the teams are on their way out, here's a look at the tables as they stand
  • 13:34
    Do give us your thoughts on the day's action via the comment box or tweet me @carlomalley
  • 13:37
    CASTRES OLYMPIQUE: P Bernard; M Evans, S Bai, R Lamerat, M Garvey; R Tales, R Kockott, Y Forestier, MA Rallier, A Peikrishvili; M Rolland, C Samson, M Babillot, P Faasalele, P Wannenburg. Replacements: B Mach, S Taumoepeau, M Lazar, J Tekori, T Lacrampe, J Bornman, P Bonnefond, M Andreu.

    ULSTER: C Gilroy; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, M Allen; R Pienaar, P Marshall; T Court, R Best, J Afoa; L Stevenson, N McComb; R Diack, C Henry (capt), R Wilson. Replacements: R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, I Henderson, M McComish, M Heaney, P Jackson, C Cochrane.

    Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).
  • 13:39
    Bright start from both sides as Trimble returns a Castres clearance, but Pienaar overcooks a kick downfield adn it's a Castres scrum just inside the Ulster half.
  • 13:41
    Big scrum from Ulster and John Afoa, but the subsequent put in was not straight and it's back with Castres, but five metres from their line.
  • 13:42
    Ulster's scrum runs aground and it's a penalty for Castres. A cahnce to clear their lines
  • 13:44
    7 min: Castres pinged for tackling Mike Allen off the ball and Pienaar finds touch, but the South AFrican knocks on from the lineout.
  • 13:48

    TRY Castres! A beautifully worked try for the homeside after former Ulster backrow Wannenburg makes ground, before a lovely reverse offload by Max Evans and inside centre Remi Lamerat scampers over from 20 odd metres out.

    The conversion is missed by Rory Kockott

  • 13:49
    12 minutes gone and Pienaar closes the gap to two with a penalty from the right-hand touchline.
  • 13:51
    Ulster force Casteres backwards but the keep coming with Pedrie Wannenburg prominent in the early stages for he French side.
  • 13:51
    Lamerrat bounces Chris Henry out of the way and Castres keep coming.
  • 13:52
    Gilroy takes Garvey into touch after a crossfield kick. Lineout Ulster.
  • 13:54

    Scrum Castres afetr another Ulster blunder on their lineout. Their under pressure here.

  • 13:55
    18th minute now and there's a penalty against Paddy Wallace for a high tackle on Wannenburg. The centre looks a little bemused but this is a chance for Kockott to move Castres five ahead again.
  • 13:56
    He makes no mistake this time.
  • 13:58

    Castres take some chances in their own 22, lovely offload from Lamerrat, but they are dragged into touch and Ulster win the lineout, claimed by Roger Wilson.

    On the front foot now!

  • 14:00
    22nd minute and Trimble makes ground up the right wing. Marshall probes and Castres conceded by not rolling away. Owens might have blown early there, Ulster were ona roll.

    Ulster opt for the scrum, five metres out.
  • 14:01
    Faasalele penalised after failing to stay bound to the scrum. Another scrum for Ulster. They have the muscle in the setpiece.
  • 14:02
    24th minute : It's reset after Owens urged Ulster to "use it".
  • 14:04
    Penalty Ulster after it goes to ground. Another one of those and a penalty try is inevitable.

    Owens lays down the law to the castres frontrow.

    Here we go again.
  • 14:05
    Oh dear. Penalty CAstres after Ulster go too early and the French clear their lines. All that hard work gone to waste but at least they know they have the beating of them in the scrum.
  • 14:05
    27 minutes gone, still five points in it and the injured Wilson has been replaced by Iain Henderson.
  • 14:06
    Will that make a difference to the scrum? Robbie Diack has gone to number eight and Henderson in at number six
  • 14:07
    Marshall forces the play into the Castres 22 with a grubber kick. Castres lineout.
  • 14:08
    Wannenburg controls well and Cstres fling it wide but Allen crumples Lamerrat and it's knocked forward. Scrum Ulster on the Castres 22.

    Great hit by Allen.
  • 14:11
    Ulster go left to Pienaar, on to Cave and into touch but it's an Ulster lineout. Looked like a rehearsed move there from Ulster, but it didn't quite come off the way they hoped.

    Neither did the lineout, again, as the lineout went long and Evans claims before Castres clear their lines.
  • 14:11
    Evans adjudged to have knocked forward in the tackle, though, and Ulster have it back. Rather fortunate call there, it seems.
  • 14:14
    Seven minutes left in the half. With the wind at their backs they need to make the most of it soon.

    Best's lineout is claimed by Wannenburg this time. It's been awful, the Ulster setpiece out of touch but they have a penalty after obstruction from Castres as they looked to run it out.
  • 14:14
    Pienaar converts a relatively easy pen and the gap is two in Castres' favour. 
  • 14:16
    Wannenburg knocks on as Castres look to hit back. Scrum Ulster again and Marshall sends a quality grubber kick down the line to find touch on the Castres 22.
  • 14:18
    Castres clear and after a bit of confusion over a lineout ball, it's an Ulster put in and an Ulster penalty after the Castres scrum goes down.
  • 14:20
    With the wind at his back, Pienaar will have a go at this from just beyond the 10-metre line.

    But he's missed it.

    Halftime. Two-point lead for Castres. Very scrappy from Ulster, especially Best at the lineout.
  • 14:22
    Too much good field position wasted by Ulster in that half. They'll need a mammoth performance in the second half against that wind to have any hope of securing a home quarter-final.
  • 14:27

    Munster news for you. Mike Sherry came through yesterday's training unscathed and will start ahead of Damien Varley tomorrow.

    Munster: F Jones; D Howlett capt, K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; Ian Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, M Sherry, BJ Botha; D O'Callaghan, D Ryan; P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, J Coughlan. Replacements:  D Varley, W du Preez, J Ryan, B Holland, P Butler, D Williams, JJ Hanrahan, C Laulala.

  • 14:29
    Shane Horgan says Ulster lack "precision" before Will Greenwood picks apart Ulster's defence for the Castres try. Stunning offload from Evans after his burst up the line, though.
  • 14:35
    And we're off. Sky late, so, so are we.

    Ulster in possession in their own 22 but it's pilfered by Evans and Castres have it and are rolling forward to within seven metres.
  • 14:36
    It goes wide and Garvey is stopped yards from the line but Castres still have.
  • 14:37
    Faasalele penalised and Pienaar clears.  Crisis averted, for now.
  • 14:37
    Best's lineout is robbed again.
  • 14:41

    Ulster scrum after a Casres knock on. And they win a penalty, thanks to the only aspect of their game that has been solid.

    Owens issues a telling off to Castres. Prop Yannick Forrestier is off and replaced by Taumoepeau. The former was in danger of a yellow card.

  • 14:42
    Lineout comes off for Ulster but Marshall knocked forward after a poor delivery to his feet.

    Castres back in possession on their 22, and with a penalty to clear.
  • 14:46
    49th minute Penalty after Castres hold on. Pienaar clears and Marcel Garvey tries to field it but he's in touch. The lineout comes off but Ulster guilty of crossing as Diack thunders through the middle.

    This is beginning to get a bit messy. Nothing much going right for either side.
  • 14:46
    Kockott reckons he can kick this one, from well inside his own half.
  • 14:47
    He easily had the distance but he pulled it to the left of the posts. Monster of a strike but just lost out on accuracy.
  • 14:48
    Iain Henderson and Chris Henry operate teh choke tackle and win possession. Ulster scrum.
  • 14:50
    53rd minute: Ulster moves through the phases but Diack knocks on and it's back with Castres. Really patchy performance from this Ulster side and there seems no chance of a home quarter-final now.
  • 14:50
    Lamerat breaks but his offload to Evans drifts into touch. They're all at it.
  • 14:53
    Castres flinging it around the midfield for a while and they did well to retain possession before Kockott finds a good touch deep inside the Ulster 22.

    Best under pressure. Four-man lineout.
  • 14:54

    Henderson takes. Paddy Jackson gets his first touch after coming on for Marshall. Pienaar is at scrumhalf now and Jackson at 10.

  • 14:56

    Lovely skip pass from Lamerat finds Andreu and he's taken high by Darren Cave, who receives a talking to. A little unfortunate there, after the litte Frenchman ducked low.

  • 14:57
    57th minute: Castres move to within five metres but conceded possession under pressure from Diack and Pienaar clears
  • 14:59
    Tales tries a drop-goal from the halfway. Very ambitious and it was never going over, but Ulster forced to return possession and are on the back foot again.
  • 15:00

    Andrew knocks on, Ulster advantage, and Gilroy hoofs clear. Casters return fire and Gilroy goes on a lovely jonking run as Ulster move forward to the 22.

  • 15:01
    Jackson bursts through but he's taken down and Lamerat pounces to claim possession. Castres clear.

    Better from Ulster, though.
  • 15:05
    Still no score in the second half. Just a bit of wrestle, really.

    Castres put in on their 22. Long clearance from Bernard but it's returned for a Castres lineout. They take and it's put high. Trimbkle gathers and Cave and Wallace get wide and a little lucky. Castres concede a penalty in front of the posts.

    Lazar offside.
  • 15:06
    Fisrt points of the half and Ulster lead for the first time.
  • 15:09
    67th minute: Big scrum from Castres and Andreu's kick to the corner is perfect. Best's lineout is poor again and robbed. A timely intervention from an Ulster hand, however, sees Best and then Wallace break and Ulster find the corner through Pienaar.
  • 15:11
    Castres take and look to run it. Eventually they clear and gilroy returns it with aplomb. A fine touch from the young fella.
  • 15:12
    No mistake in the Castres lineout but they're fortunate to retain possession after a Jackson charge down. Cleared by Tales to the 22
  • 15:15
    The Ulster lineout works out this time.Best takes it on, into the 22, and a moment of genius from Jackson, a lovely dummy. But Andreu intercepts his pass and clears. Gilroy claims, feeds Trimble, but he's collared before Henry forces a turn over.

    Scrum Ulster.Seven minutes left
  • 15:16

    Wallace got everything out of that clearance. Ulster ease the pressure.

  • 15:18
    Penalty Ulster from the 10 metre line and over on the right touchline. A chance for Pienaar to move Ulster four points clear.
  • 15:20
    A beautiful line from the Springbok but it just drops short against the wind. He drew it in perfectly there.

    Wannenburg has been given man-of-the-match.  He has been immense but run close by Chris Henry.
  • 15:23

    Whatever about the standard of rugby today, and it has been poor from Ulster, they are on course for their first ever win in France.  Nice landmark, considering they have played better than this in the past and lost.

    A minute left.

  • 15:24
    It is an especially notable achievement, given they are missing so many frontline players and internationals.
  • 15:28
    That's it. Ulster have won in France for the first time. Three penalties from Ruan Pienaar enough to beat the French by a point. They may yet get a home tie yet, but it looks unlikely.

    In Scotstoun, it's 20-20 between Glasgow and Northampton with three minutes left.
  • 15:31
    Shane Horgan on Ulster
    A great result but average performance.
  • 15:35

    Disaster for Northampton in Scotstoun where Alex Waller's sending off for punching an opponent right in front of the touch judge was immediately punished when Peter Horne scored the most astonishing individual try to knock Saints out of Europe.

    After Horne converted it ended 27-20 to Glasgow. A first Heineken Cup win for Glasgow this season. Timely.

  • 15:41
    Pool 4: Final standings
    Pool 4: Final standings
  • 15:46
    Toulon's game against Montpellier, which could have such a big impact on the fate of Leinster and Munster, has kicked off at the Stade Yves du Manoir. 

    We'll keep you updated on things there.
  • 15:51
    Wilkinson has put Toulon ahead with a penalty. 3-0 to the visitors in Montpellier.

    A reminder: The Irish provinces need a Toulon win here, to keep Montpellier down. Toulon just need a point to secure a home quarter-final.
  • 15:53
    Mind you, it's not all going to plan. Thomas Combezou has crossed for the homeside and Benoit Paillaugue has converted. It's 7-3 Montpellier.
  • 15:56
    Toulon under real pressure from Montpellier. Not all going to plan for the rugby Galacticos
  • 16:00
  • 16:03
    Another penalty for Montpellier gives them a 10-point lead.
  • 16:07
    Paillaugue has added another penalty for Montpellier. They won't be enjoying this news at Sandy Park
  • 16:11
    Jonny Wilkinson has gone off injured for Toulon. Big Bad Mathieu Bastareaud is on in his stead.
  • 16:13
  • 16:22
    Mark Robson welcomes back "His Majesty" Jonny Wilkinson after the outhalf was stitched up and sent back to battle like a noble Knight of the Realm.
  • 16:40

    Irish Times: HEINEKEN CUP – AS IT STANDS AFTER POOL 4 GAMES

    1 Harlequins Pool 3 - 28pts, 28 tries, +172 pts diff. Completed pool games

    2 Toulon P6 - 23pts, 23 tries, +122 (v Montpellier (a), Sat, 3.40)

    3 Clermont P5 - 23pts, 19 tries, +120 (v Scarlets (a), Sat, 6.0)

    4 ULSTER P4 - 23pts, 12 tries, +71. Completed pool games

    5 Toulouse P2 - 18pts, 14 tries, +52 (v Leicester (a), Sun, 3.0)

    6 Saracens P1 - 18pts, 10 tries, +71 (v Edinburgh (h), Sun, 12.45)

    7 Montpellier P6 - 18pts, 15 tries, +39 (v Toulon (h), Sat, 3.40)

    8 Leicester P2 - 16pts, 13 tries, +12 (v Toulouse (h), Sun, 3.0)

    9 Biarritz P3 – 15pts, 14 tries, +22. Completed pool games

    10 MUNSTER P1 - 15pts, 9 tries, +37 (v Racing Metro (h), Sun, 12.45)

    11 Northampton P4 – 15pts, 9 tries, -1. Completed pool games

    12 LEINSTER P5 - 15pts, 8 tries, +19 (v Exeter (a), Sat, 6.0)

  • 16:43
    Ulster coach Mark Anscombe on win over Castres.
    We were very flat in the first half, we kept giving the ball away and couldn’t get our lineout going. It wasn’t pretty. They don’t make it easy for you but the character of the guys saw us through in the end.
  • 16:43
    The second half is underway in Montpellier with the homeside still leading Toulon 16-3.
  • 16:52

    That man Paillaugue has added a try for Montpellier. A sterling effort from Montpellier after sustained pressure from Toulon.

  • 16:53
    What a conversion from the touchline. 23-3 now, with just over half an hour remaining.
  • 16:54
  • 16:57
    Premier League full-time scores

    West Ham 1-1 QPR, Newcastle 1-2 Reading, Man City 2-0 Fulham, Swansea 3-1 Stoke, Wigan 2-3 Sunderland, Liverpool 5-0 Norwich, Newcastle 1 Reading 2
  • 17:01
    If it remains like this in Montpellier, then they will take the top runners-spot and Leinster and Munster, plus others, are effectively vying for one place.
  • 17:05
    Montpellier scrumhalf Benoit Paillaugue has been outstanding for the homeside against Toulon. There appears to be nothing he can't do today.
  • 17:06
    20 minutes remain.
  • 17:17
    Ulster's Paddy Jackson skips past RŽmi Tales of Castres. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho/Presseye
    Ulster's Paddy Jackson skips past RŽmi Tales of Castres. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho/Presseye
  • 17:22
    Not much hope left for Toulon here, as "His Majesty" skews an easy penalty wide. 20-point lead for Montpellier. Six minutes to go
  • 17:33
    It's all over in Montpellier and they have taken one of the runners-up spot and will be in the quarter-finals.

    This means only one place remains and, so, only one other Irish team will make through at the most. Both Munster and Leinster, of course, could still miss out.

    Leicester cccupy that second spot as we speak, and they host Toulouse tomorrow.
  • 17:38

    HEINEKEN CUP – AS IT STANDS AFTER POOL 6 FINAL GAMES

    1 Harlequins Pool 3 - 28pts, 28 tries, +172 pts diff. Completed pool – Q home

    2 Toulon P6 - 23pts, 23 tries, +102. Completed pool - Q

    3 Clermont P5 - 23pts, 19 tries, +120 (v Scarlets (a), Sat, 6.0) Q

    4 ULSTER P4 - 23pts, 12 tries, +71. Completed pool - Q ______________________________________________________________

    5 Toulouse P2 - 18pts, 14 tries, +52 (v Leicester (a), Sun, 3.0)

    6 Saracens P1 - 18pts, 10 tries, +71 (v Edinburgh (h), Sun, 12.45)

    7 Montpellier P6 - 22pts, 17 tries, +59 Completed pool - q

    ­8 Leicester P2 - 16pts, 13 tries, +12 (v Toulouse (h), Sun, 3.0)_____________________________________________________________

    9 Biarritz P3 – 15pts, 14 tries, +22. Completed pool

    10 MUNSTER P1 - 15pts, 9 tries, +37 (v Racing Metro (h), Sun, 12.45)

    11 Northampton P4 – 15pts, 9 tries, -15. Completed pool

    12 LEINSTER P5 - 15pts, 8 tries, +19 (v Exeter (a), Sat, 6.0)

     

  • 17:45

    Okay, so we're 15 minutes away. Shaggy Horgan is on the box, saying Joe Schmidt has told him they are going straight for it from the off, but he can't see it happening away from home, it seems. This has the making of a great game now because tries are the order of the day now. It doesn't really matter how many they concede as long as they outscore Exeter.

  • 17:48
    Leinster coach Joe Schmidt
    I think in the conditions, they're not so bad, we have to make sure we get some tempo in the game and put pressure on Exeter and get over the line at least four times.
  • 17:52
  • 18:01
    The teams are out and Romain Poite readies the troops. This is the big one. Leinster need more than four tries in reality. And a win, of course.
  • 18:03
    Scrum Exeter on the Leinster 22. Penalty Leinster after Mike Ross puts in a big shift.
  • 18:03
    Sexton to clear down the line.

    And he does get some good distance down towards teh 10-metre line.
  • 18:03

    EXETER CHIEFS: L Arscott; I Whitten, S Naqelevuki, J Shoemark, M Jess; G Steenson, K Barrett; B Moon, N Clark, H Tui; T Hayes (capt), D Mumm; T Johnson, J Scaysbrook, R Baxter. Replacements: J Yeandle, C Rimmer, C Mitchell, J Hanks, B White, W Chudley, I Mieres, N Sestaret.

    LEINSTER: R Kearney; I Nacewa, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross; L Cullen (capt), D Toner; K McLaughlin, S O’Brien, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, H van der Merwe, M Bent, R Ruddock, S Jennings, I Boss, I Madigan, F McFadden.

    Referee: Romain Poite (France).

  • 18:04
    Exeter offside and Sexton heads straight for the corner.
  • 18:05
    TRY Toner takes and Leinster drive for the line. Cullen takes it on and then McLaughlin.

    Healy takes it on and Sexton shifts it wide to D'Arcy who scampers over!

    Smashing start.
  • 18:06
    Lovely step off the right inside the cover from D'Arcy.

    Sexton steps up for the extras.
  • 18:06
    He converts. 7-0 Leinster after five minutes.
  • 18:07
    Exter bounce back and take the game to Leinster. A nice chip over the cover from Barrett inside the Leinster 22. Lineout Leinster.
  • 18:08
    Scrum Leinster. Will they run it from deep?
  • 18:10
    Pick and go from Heaslip.  BOD runs at them and then Kearney feed Nacewa but Jess nicks it and Exeter attack, but they kncok forward after a good break from Barrett.
  • 18:10
    Nine minutes gone and it's frantic stuff already.
  • 18:12

    D'arcy nicks possession and it's called back for a knock on from Exeter. Scrum Leinster.

  • 18:12
    John joe All the best
  • 18:12
    Cheers, John Joe. Good luck. Take it easy.
  • 18:14
    Leinster lineout but the ball is spilled by Fitzgerald. Scrum Exeter near their 10-metre line.
  • 18:16

    Barret clears but it's out on hte full and back in their half for a Leinster lineout.

    Strauss steps up.. Good setpiece so far.

  • 18:17
    Sean O'Brien takes it into contact and healy barges his way through the cover and inside the 22
  • 18:18
    Cullen takes it on now. Sexton out to Fitzgerald and Healy, again, makes ground.

    Flashed wide to Kearney and then Nacewa but the Fijian holds on and it's a penalty to the thomeside.
  • 18:19
    He just got isolated there, but that was very good, precise rugby from Leinster.
  • 18:20
    Into the 15th minute and flanker Tom Johnson has to leave the field. Ben White is on for him after he's stretchered off.
  • 18:21
    Barrett for touch and an Exeter lineout.

    They take and clear downfield. Kearney runs it back but Exeter turn it over after the fullback got in a muddle. Unlike him.

    Exeter go for touch.
  • 18:23
    TRY EXETER.

    It pays off as Exeter take their own lineout neatly and Neil Clark scores after a great forward effort from the homeside.
  • 18:23
    Steenson sends over the extras and we're level at Sandy Park.
  • 18:24
  • 18:26
    Amazing piece of runnign from O'Brien there as Leinster look to reestablish some dominance, but Cullen knocks on
  • 18:26
    Leinster win it against the head. D'Arcy makes ground, then O'Brien, but Steenson clears after the ball runs loose.
  • 18:28
    O'Brien and Healy are tearing into the Exeter defence. Then a BOD chip through is cleared into touch by Barrett.

    Lineout deep inside Exeter territory now.
  • 18:28

    Five metres from the line. McLaughlin takes.

  • 18:30

    O'Brien controls and Healy takes, then O'Brien again.

    Penalty Leinster and Cullen opts for the scrum.

  • 18:31
    It's been dominant so far and it is again but Reddan runs into the referee.
  • 18:31
    Reddan looked a little lost there. Not entirely Poite's fault.
  • 18:33
    Another scrum for Leinster as the Exeter defence begins to creak.
  • 18:33
    27th minute now and Leinster need scores.

    Big scrum from Exeter but Leinster still have.
  • 18:35
    TRY LEINSTER New Ireland captain Heaslip takes it on. Under the posts O'Brien takes it on and it goes wide to BOD, then Sexton and then Kearney who slides over in the corner.

    Two great passes from O'Driscoll and Sexton to set up the fullback
  • 18:35
    Sexton misses the conversion across the front of the posts.
  • 18:37
    Half an hour gone.

    Leinster on the attack again with Fitzgerald but Exeter have turned it over after the winger opts to hold on.

  • 18:38

    Exeter ask a few questions of the Leinster defence again and Jess, Barrett and Steenson are instrumental.

  • 18:39
    Steenson goes crossfield after a great break by lock Dean Mumm. There's nobody there as BOD fields but it's an Exeter penalty.
  • 18:40
    TRY CHIEFS.

    The homeside have powered over the line with a huge effort and collective drive in the corner and are awarded a penalty try.

    Steenson has added the extras
  • 18:41
    Straight back up the other end. Breathless stuff now and Exeter steal it after Sexton takes it into contact.
  • 18:43
    The tide is turning here. Penalty for Exeter at scrum time and it's cleared downfield for a lineout.
  • 18:43
    Just outside the Leinster 22.
  • 18:44
    Exeter take and they have a taste for this now. Clark carries into the 22 but Leinster are awarded the penalty. Reddan tries the quick one but it's not on.
  • 18:45
    Sexton clears for a Leinster lineout at halfway.
  • 18:46

    It's too long and Ian Whitten takes before Exeter are awarded the penalty. Steenson steps up to extend Exeter's lead.

  • 18:47
    And he has!  A five-point lead for Exeter and Leinster have been rocked back on their heels in the last 10 minutes.

    That's halftime. Plenty to do for Leinster.
  • 18:52
  • 18:54
    Shane Horgan reckons Leinster are looking too far ahead, having been put under serious pressure by Exeter.
  • 18:59

    Will Greenwood's breathless analysis is reminiscent of David Bellamy gushing over flora and fauna.

    Short bullet points, with extra hands for emphasis.

  • 19:02
    We're back and Sean Cronin is in for Strauss.
  • 19:04
    Lineout for Leinster on the halfway.

    Schmidt apparently had words with Poite at halftime but the ref wasn't that interested.
  • 19:04
    Scrum Leinster.
  • 19:05
    Kearney takes and heads down the blindside. Furst carry for Cronin but Leinster still at halfway.
  • 19:06
    An up n'under from Sexton is run back by Exeter but Heaslip steals a pass and Leinster are on the move.
  • 19:08

    TRY Leinster!

    Great pick and go from Cullen who finds BOD on his inside shoulder and the centre charges over from close range.

    Sexton converts and Leinster are back in the lead and one try away from a bonus point.

  • 19:09
    That was O'Driscoll's 32nd Heineken Cup try. Only Ireland's bete noir Vincent Clerc has scored more than that.
  • 19:10
    Leinster on the attack again. Kearney makes ground into the Exeter 22. McLaughlin takes it on but Leinster are under pressure from the Exeter defence, it's all a bit scrappy.
  • 19:11
    Fitzgerald darts down the touchline, Leinster win a penalty and Sexton hits the corner. There could be a bonus point here.
  • 19:12
    Leinster roll a maul towards the line, Ross has a go and the whistle goes for a Leinster penalty after Exeter collapsed the maul.
  • 19:12
    Again, Sexton hits the corner for the,lineout.
  • 19:14
    That's great from Exeter as they turn it over and win the scrum.
  • 19:16
    Leinster win it against the head and win their own scrum under the posts.
  • 19:16
    Big chance now.
  • 19:17

    TRY Leinster

    And it's the new Ireland captain who could hardly miss after a massive gap opens up under the posts and he touches down.

    Big props to big prop MIke Ross there, who dominated that scrum. 

    Sexton adds the extras.

  • 19:18
    That's the bonus for Leinster, then, but they still need to put more tries on the board.
  • 19:20
    Leinster have a real chance for more scores here. They cannot afford to stop and as Exeter tire, they have an opportunity to put real pressure on Munster
  • 19:21
    A replay confirms that gap under the posts was largely down to O'Brien holding Scaysbrook back from making a tackle. Cute hoor.
  • 19:21

    A wobbly Reddan is replaced by Isaac Boss. He took a knock somewhere along the line

  • 19:22
    56th minute:  Steenson boots a penalty to just outside the Leinster 22.
  • 19:23
    It's back with Leinster, after a Toner touch down, and Sexton has a chance to clear with a penalty.
  • 19:24
    Toner loses out this time, though, and Exeter attack. Up to the halfway.
  • 19:26
    Whitten spills it into touch and it's taken quickly by Leinster but after Heaslip takes it into contact Leinster lose out Poite's whistle. Exeter go for touch and take their lineout on Leinster's 22.
  • 19:28
    60 minutes gone

    Rhys Ruddock is on for McLaughlin and it's a Leinster scrum outside their 22.
  • 19:30
    It's reset by Poite after it hits the deck. Secton sends a monster downfield and over the deadball line. Not good.

    Exeter have it back on the Leinster 22.
  • 19:32
    Exeter have controlled possession in the last 10 minutes, but it's a Leinster scrum.

    BOD breaks and feeds Kearney, who jinks inside two men before being taken down.
  • 19:33
    A big hit on O'Brien, however, turns it over for Exeter and they are on the attack again.

    Cullen puts in a high tackle and it's a penalty for the Chiefs.
  • 19:35
    Cullen's lucky to not see yellow for that tackle, in fact.

    The bigger concern for Leinster is a knock to Cian Healy, and the prop heads for the line to be replaced by van der Merwe.

    Steenson boots towards the corner. Lineout Exeter.
  • 19:37
    Naqelevuki takes it into contact and the Chiefs look to reel Leinster in. It's a penalty for the homeside and Steenson is heading for the corner again. Could have had two penalties by now but still chasing the tries.
  • 19:39
    The Chiefs put practically everyone in the lineout but Leinster meet them with numbers, as well.

    Ben White takes it on, then Chudley and Leinster penalised for not realeasing in the tackle.

    Steenson will kick this. Six-point lead for Leinster now.
  • 19:40
    10 minutes remain and Leinster need more tries. The Chiefs break with Schumacher but they're called for blocking and Leinster can head for the corner here.

  • 19:40
    Cronin's throw is long and back with the homeside.
  • 19:41
    This time Poite whisles for a forward pass after Dean Mumm flicks it forward.
  • 19:43
    Scrum Leinster and Sexton scrambles to make some yards.

    Leinster win a pen, just inside the 22 and Poite shows a yellow card to Ben White, who body checked Nacewa in that phase of play. Persistent fouling from him as much as anything else.
  • 19:44
    Sexton goes for the posts to secure the win and he scores it. Could still do with a few tries, though.
  • 19:47
    Boss has been yellow carded after a Chiefs attack. Sorry, didn't see what it was for, but the numbers are even again and Leinster are running out of time.

    Heaslip turns over brilliantly adn Fitzgerald clears. Jess runs it back at them.
  • 19:50

    BUt it's a penalty to Leinster and a last chance to secure another try Sexton finds touch.

    Toner runs on to a long throw and Leinster take it through the phases until Ian Madigan makes some ground flicks it out to Heaslip, who in turn finds Kearney. The fullback, however, is forced into touch.

  • 19:52
    That's it. Leinster got the win and the bonus but it may not be enough. A bonus-point win for Munster over a weakened Racing Metro tomorrow would see them through, unless Toulouse pick up two bonus points in defeat to Leicester.
  • 19:55
    Jamie Heaslip
    We went out to win the game first and chase the bonus point. Hopefully we did enough. Exeter really stuck it to us, it was a great game to watch, absolutely knackered playing in it.
  • 20:04

    HEINEKEN CUP – AS IT STANDS AFTER SATURDAY’S GAMES 

    1 Harlequins Pool 3 - 28pts, 28 tries, +172 pts diff. Completed pool – Q home

    2 Clermont P5 - 28pts, 23 tries, +140 Completed pool Q home

    3 Toulon P6 - 23pts, 23 tries, +102. Completed pool – Q

    4 ULSTER P4 - 23pts, 12 tries, +71 Completed pool - Q

    5 Toulouse P2 - 18pts, 14 tries, +52 (v Leicester (a), Sun, 3.0)

    6 Saracens P1 - 18pts, 10 tries, +71 (v Edinburgh (h), Sun, 12.45)
    ______________________________________________________

    7 Montpellier P6 - 22pts, 17 tries, +59 Completed pool - q

    ­8 LEINSTER P5 - 20pts, 12 tries, +28. Completed pool
    ______________________________________________________

    9 Leicester P2 - 16pts, 13 tries, +12 (v Toulouse (h), Sun, 3.0)

    10 MUNSTER P1 - 15pts, 9 tries, +37 (v Racing Metro (h), Sun, 12.45)

  • 21:24
    The weary trio of Devin Toner, Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll leave the pitch at Sandy Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
    The weary trio of Devin Toner, Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll leave the pitch at Sandy Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho