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Joe Schmidt felt Leinster could have added to their five-try haul against Saracens in the Heineken Cup

Updated: Saturday, 12 Jan 2013 22:32 | Comments

Luke Fitzgerald was among the Leinster try scorers
Luke Fitzgerald was among the Leinster try scorers

Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt admitted to a touch of regret even after his side mustered a crucial five-try 33-14 win over the Scarlets in Pool Five of the Heineken Cup.

The defending champions had the bonus point secured by the 44th minute of this entertaining clash, with Rob Kearney adding to first half-efforts from Cian Healy, Shane Jennings and man-of-the-match Luke Fitzgerald.

Knowing that qualification for the knock-out stages may come down to the number of tries scored, Schmidt felt his side should have added more than Ian Madigan's fifth try in the final minute.

"There already are (regrets)," he said. "There are at least two more we should have got, one more where I felt there was good space and the ball was knocked down.

"There is frustration but the reality is we are where we are and this is what we can plan to do and try to execute it."

As things stand, Leinster would qualify as one of the best-placed pool runners-up. But they are likely to be pushed out of that position tomorrow after Munster, Leicester Tigers and Toulouse all play.

Schmidt will hope the 'miracle' he has spoken about for the last month can happen, with favours needed from the Ospreys against Leicester on Sunday and another from Toulon next week against Montpellier.

He added: "Leicester and Toulouse are both ahead of us but they have got to play each other. They can nullify that a little bit. I have a lot of respect for (Montpellier coach) Fabien Galthie.

"He is a guy I have had a lot of chats with over the years, but I would like to see him beaten. It's dog-eat-dog at this stage of the competition really."

Despite the defeat, Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby felt his side failed to get the reward they deserved, but was complementary of Leinster,

"There was a huge amount of effort for little reward really. We made 150 tackles, but to be fair Leinster came out and started how we expected them to," said the former Ireland flanker.

"We showed glimpses of how we can pressurise teams, we are just not doing it for long enough" - Schmidt on what has been missing from Leinster this term

"They obviously had to win the game and win it with a bonus point if they want to qualify for the quarter-finals. They didn't do too much that we didn't expect."

Out-half Aled Thomas kicked the Scarlets ahead early on and full-back Liam Williams added a drop goal to make it 7-6 before tries from Jennings and Healy sent the hosts on their way.

With Liam Williams' try from a Scott Williams cross-field kick before the break, Easterby felt the Welsh region were still in the game.

"We showed glimpses of how we can pressurise teams, we are just not doing it for long enough. The best sides do it consistently and for sustained periods and at the moment we are not able to do that," he said.

"At 19-11, we still felt like we could get a score and put a bit of pressure on them, but they scored first and then that takes the game away from us."

Leinster face Exeter Chiefs next Saturday as they seek an unlikely progression in the Heineken Cup and Schmidt knows all they can control is the game ahead, as they chase a second successive bonus point victory.

He said: "I know teams wouldn't write us off yet because they don't know what is going to happen next.

"I would love to say what happens next is that we get five points and that somebody is under pressure, but I have a lot of respect for Exeter."

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