Heineken Cup: Leinster edge to narrow victory over Exeter Chiefs

Heineken Cup: Leinster's Joe Schmidt admits he was not surprised his side struggled to a 9-6 victory over Exeter Chiefs

brian o'driscoll
Ireland and Leinster captain Brian O'Driscoll Photo: Paul Walsh

brian o'driscoll

Joe Schmidt insisted he was not surprised by Exeter’s dogged performance after three Jonathan Sexton penalties saw Heineken Cup holders Leinster begin their defence with a win on Saturday.

Ireland fly-half Sexton edged Leinster 9-6 in front with six minutes remaining however it could have easily been a draw had Ignacio Mieres not kicked his own penalty wide moments later.

In the end Sexton’s effort was the difference and Schmidt admitted a draw would have been a fair result and that Exeter were everything he expected and then some.

“It was no surprise to us how tough they were to break down. As I said all week, they are a formidable side,” said Schmidt.

“They are greater than the sum of their parts. They are a very unified group. They’re well coached, well organised and hard to break down.

“Having said that, it’s not often we get in the 22 four times in the first half, and get nothing from it. That’s down to us; we have to be more accurate than that.

“We were a little bit inaccurate and we have got to be patient enough to build scores against a really good team.”

Meanwhile Wales full-back Lee Byrne was among the scorers for French side Clermont Auvergne as they recorded a bonus-point 49-16 victory over Scarlets.

Jonathan Davies went over first for the visitors but their task was made much harder when Morgan Stoddart was sent off for two yellow card offences just before half-time.

And Sitiveni Sivivatu, a penalty try, Byrne, Damien Chouly, Julien Bonnaire and Napolioni Nalaga all ensured last season’s semi-finalists would start with a win.

Olly Barkley kicked 14 points as Racing Metro came from behind to upset Munster 22-17 – the Irish outfit 10-0 ahead thanks mainly to a Sean Dougall try.

Racing fought back and led 13-10 at half-time as Maxime Machenaud capitalised on a poor Ronan O’Gara pass to score a breakaway try while Barkley was flawless from the kicking tee.

Simon Zebo touched down to momentarily put Munster back in front but two late penalties from Barkley, starting his first game for the club, sealed a well-deserved victory.

Meanwhile Edinburgh didn’t record a single point as they were defeated 45-0 by Saracens while Connacht won an all-PRO12 clash with Zebre 19-10.

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