Heineken Cup semi-final: Leinster coach Joe Schmidt praises defence

Rob Kearney
Rob Kearney scored with a long-range drop goal

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt praised his players for successfully resisting a late Clermont onslaught to qualify for a Heineken Cup final against Ulster.

"The guys didn't hold back in putting their bodies on the line when Clermont attacked in the last few minutes," said Schmidt after his side's 19-15 victory.

"We can be very proud of winning a game such as this.

"Everyone can see that it was really tough from start to finish," said the former Clermont assistant coach.

The defending champions trailed 12-6 at the interval and full-back Rob Kearney admitted that there was a tactical re-think in the Leinster dressing room at the break.

"We knew we had to come out of the blocks quickly after half-time and try to gain some field possession," said the Ireland and Lions star.

"We had to dig in at the end and we're delighted to be in another final."

Clermont coach Vern Cotter admitted it would be painful viewing watching the match again and said his side were still lacking that cutting edge at this level.

"I am really disappointed - so much effort and no reward at the end," said the 50-year-old New Zealander, who has been at the club since 2006.

"In the last five minutes I sensed the real hunger of the players and they showed enormous character.

"Even if we lost, there are interesting things to take out of this - we still have to work on some things in order to move up another step."

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