Leinester 22 Leicester 9: Contepomi has Loffreda looking for answers

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The Independent Online

Marcelo Loffreda was left to curse a man who he turned into an international star as the Tigers returned to England with their tails firmly between their legs on Saturday night.

The former Argentina coach watched from the stands as his one-dimensional Leicester side failed to break down the Leinster defence throughout a windy afternoon in Dublin. From that platform a player who was behind much of Loffreda's international success, Felipe Contepomi, won the match for Leinster.

The fly-half kicked six goals from eight attempts and set up Shane Horgan for the game's only try as Loffreda's first game in charge of Leicester ended in a limp defeat.

Loffreda said: "We have to get better. It's not a good beginning but I am confident we can improve. The players tried their best and I am proud of them for that.

"But our game was often repetitive and we may have to change a few things. We were not so bright in the first half and didn't use the wind very well. Leinster did use it well in the second half, and that was the difference in the end."

Leinster's coach, Michael Cheika, couldn't hide his delight. The Australian said: "The players knew what they wanted to do, but it's one thing saying what you're going to do and another thing making it happen. The control pleased me. We showed composure.

"In the past, we've been a bit guilty of going for too much. This time we tried to balance the opportunities to go and the opportunities to build field position. That's the standard we want to set for ourselves."

Contepomi reached 300 points in the Heineken Cup as he and Goode traded goals early on; thereafter the Tigers were left cursing their inability to turn possession and territory into points. Their pack, led by the former England tight-head Julian White, made mincemeat of the home eight, but Leinster's defence proved watertight.

The Tigers trooped off at half-time with the score at 6-6, knowing their rivals would make better use of the wind in the second spell. Contepomi did so when he slotted his third goal and then extended Leinster's lead with a fourth.

Contepomi and Brian O'Driscoll worked their magic in midfield to give the winger Shane Horgan the space to evade Lewis Moody's desperate tackle and score in the corner. Contepomi's conversion gave his side 13 points in as many minutes and the game was over.

Leinster: Try Horgan; Conversion Contepomi; Penalties Contepomi 5. Leicester: Penalties Goode 3.

Leinster: G Dempsey; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, R Kearney; F Contepomi, C Whitaker; O le Roux, B Jackman (B Blaney, 77), S Wright (J Gomez, 70), L Cullen, M O'Kelly, K Gleeson, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Leicester: G Murphy; S Rabeni, O Smith, J Murphy, A Tuilagi; A Goode, F Murphy; M Ayerza, B Kayser (M Davies, 77), J White (M Castrogiovanni, 51), B Deacon (J Hamilton, 77), B Kay, M Corry (capt), L Moody, J Crane.

Referee: C Berdos (France).

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