Bath 23 Leinster 35: Bath hopes sunk by the brilliance of O'Driscoll

If the final scoreline did not bear witness to the scale of marmalisation, it was because Leinster tired in the final few minutes and conceded tries to Michael Stephenson and Matt Stevens. But the Dubliners put five tries of their own past their hosts, three of them in the opening quarter and four of them works of art. For seven-eighths of the contest they were in a different league in terms of imagination and execution.

Felipe Contepomi, Shane Horgan and the incomparable Brian O'Driscoll were miles too good for the West Countrymen when it came to firing the bullets, loaded with relish by the industrious Keith Gleeson, who single-handedly dismantled Bath at the breakdown.

As a result of all this, Bath let slip a home quarter-final. Had they won the game, it would have been against Leeds; had they fiddled themselves a losing bonus point, it would have been against Munster. Now, they can look forward to a nice little trip to Leicester. They cannot complain, despite having topped their Pool.

Leinster were always likely to have the emotional force with them, for this was win-or-bust. But Bath had plenty of incentive too, and there is no mileage in pretending otherwise.

They ran into Leinster in last season's tournament and lost at the Rec after starting poorly. By comparison, though, their initial efforts a year ago were a minor triumph. Behind after six minutes on this occasion - Guy Easterby moved a penalty in his own 22, Denis Hickie made ground down the left before propelling a kick into midfield and Horgan steamed in from distance - there was worse, far worse, to come. Contepomi scored an interception try from a loose pass by Olly Barkley before O'Driscoll, low-slung and deadly, stepped past a couple of defenders to manufacture a try for Will Green, a Heineken Cup winner with Wasps in 2004.

In the face of all this brilliance, Bath showed nothing outside the scrum, leaving aside the occasional flash of inspiration from Barkley. More worrying still, there was precious little to write home about up front. Lee Mears carried the ball with his customary enthusiasm and there was a bucketload of sweat from Danny Grewcock. But unlike last season, when the Leinster pack often crumbled, Reggie Corrigan and Malcolm O'Kelly handled things quite comfortably, to the extent that it took Bath almost an hour to string together something resembling a concerted attack.

They were rewarded for that effort with a third penalty from Barkley, but - wouldn't you just know it? - Leinster responded with another withering assault from O'Driscoll, who presented Horgan with his second try in the right corner. The Ireland captain then had himself a little dabble down the opposite flank 10 minutes from time and combined sweetly with Jamie Heaslip before claiming the five points as his own.

It was that sort of performance: inventive, dynamic and utterly ruthless in execution. Toulouse lie in wait for the Irishmen. It should be some spectacle.

Bath: Tries Stephenson, Stevens; Conversions Malone 2; Penalties Barkley 3. Leinster: Tries Horgan 2, Contepomi, Green, O'Driscoll; Conversions Contepomi 5.

Bath: M Stephenson; A Higgins, T Cheeseman, S Finau, F Welsh; O Barkley (C Malone, 73), N Walshe (A Williams, 70); D Flatman (D Bell, 40), L Mears, M Stevens, D Grewcock, S Borthwick (capt), A Beattie, M Lipman, G Delve (P Short, 70).

Leinster: G Dempsey (R Kearney, 40); S Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, D Hickie; F Contepomi (K Lewis, 40), G Easterby; R Corrigan, B Blaney (D Blaney, 79), W Green (E Byrne, 66), B Williams, M O'Kelly (A Byrnes, 79), C Jowitt (E Miller, 35), K Gleeson, J Heaslip.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released the first teaser trailer a week early after it leaked online

Extras
indybest
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?