Rugby Union: Serevi takes star role as Leicester take revenge

Leicester 47 Leinster 22
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The Independent Online
Robbie McAllister

Leicester 47

Leinster 22

The trio of half-backs - Joel Stransky, Austin Healey and Waisale Serevi - all made key contributions as Leicester gained revenge for their surprise defeat in Dublin.

Stransky landed three early penalties, despite struggling with a leg injury and his exit in the 35th minute enabled Serevi, who had come on as a wing sub, to move up to stand-off and produce some unique touches. Serevi was outstanding in the second half as Leicester ran away with five tries between the 45th and 79th minutes to remain neck and neck with Toulouse at the top of the Heineken Cup Pool A. The meeting with the Frenchmen at Welford Road this Saturday should be enthralling.

Both the Leicester and Leinster coaches agreed that Healey did not touch down his try, although neither claimed it marked a turning point in a match already going the English club's way.

"He dropped the ball, but you take the tries when they are given," Bob Dwyer, the Leicester coach, said.

His Leinster counterpart, Mike Ruddock, added: "He obviously did not score, but Leicester were already 23-10 up and on the way to winning."

Ruddock made special mention of his admiration for Serevi. "He was the catalyst of a lot that happened when he went to stand-off in the second half," he said.

Jim Glennon, the Leinster forwards coach, was disappointed at the amount of wasted ball, but took pride in the fact that it took Leicester 45th minutes to score their first try.

Dwyer was surprised by Leinster's resilience: "After losing in Dublin we needed to put points on the board. We did so, but I did not expect them to score their late tries."

As Leicester swept clear after a tryless first half, Tim Barlow, Healey, Niall Malone, Graham Rowntree and Will Greenwood dashed over to score. But Denis Hickie's pair of tries for Leinster meant that Leicester did not improve their points difference as much as they wanted - although they should still be one of four English clubs to head their group, providing they beat off the challenge of Toulouse.

Leicester: Tries K Barlow, A Healey, N Malone, G Rowntree, W Greenwood. Conversions W Serevi 2. Penalties Serevi 2, J Stransky 3. Drop goal Healey. Leinster: Tries D Hickey 2, J Moweeney. Conversions A McGowan 2. Penalty McGowan.

Leicester: M Horak (W Serevi, 27); L Lloyd (J Hamilton, 63), N Malone, S Potter, T Barlow; J Stransky (W Greenwood, 35), A Healey; P Freshwate (G Rowntree, 63), R Cockerill (D West, 63), D Garforth, M Johnson (capt), M Poole (N Fletcher, 63), M Corry, E Miller, N Back (P Gustard, 63).

Leinster: K Nowlan; D Hickie, M Ridge, K McQuilkin (C Clark, 48; capt), J McWeeney; A McGowan, D O'Mahony; R Corrigan, S Byrne (J Blaney, 48), E Byrne, S Jameson (D O'Brien, 48), A Freeman, T Brennan, V Costello, D O'Sullivan.

Referee: D Gillet (France).