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Heaslip rues failure to build on YC
20 Apr 2015 09:09
Captain Jamie Heaslip admits Leinster paid the ultimate price for not capitalising on Toulon’s yellow card in Sunday’s Champions Cup semi-final defeat to the reigning European champions in Marseille.
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With the scores level at 12-12 Toulon's New Zealand World Cup-winning lock Ali Williams was sin-binned for taking out rival lock Devin Toner in the air from a restart.
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However, losing a man appeared to galvanise the two-time European champions in extra-time with a Leigh Halfpenny penalty and Bryan Habana's breakaway score that finally broke Leinster, even though Sean O'Brien crashed over from close range with five minutes left to make the final score 25-20.
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“It’s not easy to take,” Heaslip told RTÉ Sport. “They got ten points when they had a man down, we’re quite disappointed with that.
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“They are the margins at this game. But it just shows they go down to 14 and the calibre of player they have, experience they have. They don’t panic.
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“I can’t complain, I can’t take anything away from what they did and at the same time I can’t take anything away from our lads.”
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The game had been nip and tuck throughout normal time with the teams ending the 80 minutes level at 12-12 but Toulon’s class told on three-time European champions Leinster during the extra 20 minutes.
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“It’s hard enough going 80 minutes against a side like Toulon but 100 minutes is a little bit tougher!
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“It was a huge effort from the squad, not just the guys who were here today but everyone that was involved during the week.
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“A lot of work went into this game and it had to. I said all week we were going to have to be at our best against these guys and I think we asked a lot of questions of them.
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“We stretched them at points and got a return on that, and vice versa they showed the side that they are.
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"We went ahead and they stayed in the game and they kept coming at us. They got a return on that.”
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