Monday, January 21, 2013
Holders Leinster make early Heineken Cup exit
(Reuters) - Holders Leinster failed to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals on Sunday when fellow-Irish side Munster ran in five tries to beat Racing Metro 29-6 in their final pool game.
Leinster's slim chances of progressing rested on Munster scoring fewer than four tries while hoping Pool One leaders Saracens would slip up. Saracens hammered winless Edinburgh 40-7 on Sunday.
Munster must still wait to find out if they qualify as one of the two best runners-up but their bonus-point win sealed the fate of Leinster, who came from behind on Saturday to beat Exeter 29-20 and finish second in Pool Five.
The outcome of Sunday's Pool Two match between Leicester and Toulouse is all that stands between Munster and the last eight.
It would take a very unlikely scenario of the French side taking two losing bonus points - by scoring four or more tries and finishing within seven points - to deny them.
The day's other remaining match is a dead rubber with Ospreys visiting the pool's other already eliminated team Treviso.
Munster were fired up for their task at Thomond Park, overturning an early 3-0 deficit with first-half tries for Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Mike Sherry.
Zebo added two more tries after the break to make sure of both the bonus point and the victory and put Munster within touching distance of a chance to win a third Heineken Cup.
(Reporting by Sonia Oxley; Editing by John Mehaffey)