O'Driscoll heads outstanding show

Leinster 41 Wasps 11
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The Independent Online

Over the weekend, someone referred to Brian O'Driscoll's TV appearance in an Irish soap opera in frankly dismissive tones. "It's over so quickly viewers will probably wonder if they really saw him at all," we were told.

Try telling that to the colony of Wasps fans who trudged disconsolately out of the RDS on Saturday evening cursing the all too obvious intercession of Ireland's greatest rugby talent.

Mercifully, O'Driscoll's other weekend fleeting appearance on TV – the one referred to above, on The Clinic – was purely fictional and, luckily, not representative of someone who is deviating from his normal centre of attention. Not now that he is back on the top of his game. All of which makes it wretchedly unlucky that life will imitate art this morning as O'Driscoll will replicate last night's appearance in a medical drama; hopefully, the knee ligament damage sustained in the midst of a scintillating first-half display will not restrict an increasingly boisterous return to some of his finest form.

O'Driscoll's wonderful brace had secured Leinster the early foothold their astonishingly aggressive first-up defence and physicality had deserved. His first try owed much to Robert Kearney's soccer skills close to the sideline.

But O'Driscoll's second was all his own work. The chip beyond Eoin Reddan, the acceleration from his sorely tested hamstrings, then another kick ahead, before the sublime finish.

Wasps had recovered from 3-15 to 11-15 at the break, despite Phil Vickery's moment of madness at the ruck which saw him sin-binned, and after some searing passages of play, they looked likely contenders to push on after tea. Michael Cheika had spoken about a refusal to be bullied and, alerted by his side's slight drop in intensity in the second quarter, his side reverted to the values which had symbolised their opening quarter. That they had the bonus point win wrapped up before the hour mark summed up their commitment to absolute obliteration of the opponent. Given Edinburgh's win in Castres, the pool and a home quarter-final are effectively Leinster's to lose. "If you start doing maths you're in trouble," smiled Cheika.

Scorers: Leinster: Tries O'Driscoll 2, Fitzgerald, P Contepomi, Elsom, Kearney; Conversions Contepomi 4; Penalties Contepomi. Wasps: Try J Staunton; Penalties D Cipriani 2.

Leinster: G Dempsey; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll (J Sexton ht), L Fitzgerald (G Brown, 70), R Kearney; F Contepomi, C Whitaker (C Keane); S Wright (J Fogarty, 74), B Jackman, CJ van der Linde (C Healy, 65), L Cullen (capt), (D Toner, 17) M O'Kelly (S Keogh, 72), R Elsom, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Wasps: J Staunton (M van Gisbergen, 65); P Sackey, J Lewsey, R Flutey, T Voyce; D Cipriani, E Reddan (M Robinson, 72), T Payne (P Barnard, 72), R Ibanez (capt) (R Webber, 54), P Vickery, S Shaw (R Birkett, 70), T Palmer, J Haskell, T Rees (S Betsen, 75), J Worsley.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

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