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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 25 November, 2014

‘If Pele’s available, he’s more than welcome’ – Schmidt plots Escape to Victory

“All to play for,” the Leinster coach told us, “but we’re still looking at miracles.”

Gordon D'Arcy tries to breakthrough the Sacrlets defence.
Gordon D'Arcy tries to breakthrough the Sacrlets defence.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

LEINSTER COACH JOE SCHMIDT was so enthused with his side’s 33-14, bonus point win over Llanelli Scarlets that he mixed up his movie references.

Asked, post-match, if he was pleased with part one of ‘The Great Escape’, Schmidt referenced another World War Two prison break-out classic.

He began to wax lyrical about the Sylvester Stallone and Bobby Moore footballing masterpiece, Escape to Victory.

“It’s a great movie,” he told TheScore.ie. “Some of the acting in it probably isn’t great.

If Pele’s available, he’s more than welcome.

“Although, we didn’t kick tonight so he may not have been much use to us.”

Leinster’s own number 10, Jonathan Sexton, may be miffed with the competition but he was happy to forgo penalty attempts as his side successfully hunted down tries.

Staying Alive

Schmidt was delighted that his team were able to ‘hang in there and stay alive’ but he still felt hard-earned scoring opportunities were spurned in the second-half against a combative Scarlets outfit.

“It was a punishing game,” he commented. “There’s a lot of tired and fairly beaten up bodies in there at the moment so that’s a credit to Scarlets and I’m pretty sure they are feeling the same way.”

Familiar sight: O’Driscoll with a tender ankle. (INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Brian O’Driscoll, on as a sub, was playing his first game back at the RDS since he damaged his ankle there in October.

Supporters would have been worried as he got treatment on his right ankle and hobbled through the last three minutes as he refused to drop Leinster’s numbers to 14. Schmidt had better news than the picture [above] might suggest.

“I think Brian is good,” said Schmidt.

“I think Sean [O'Brien] is good, Kevin McLaughlin should be good. Richardt Strauss is good as well – he maybe could have played tonight but Aaron Dundon has been a really good soldier for us. He came on and made a really positive impact.

It was the same we Sean, he could have probably played tonight. He was just off-colour but didn’t really pick up today.

“One of the things we have is a lot of faith in a guy like Rhys Ruddock and I thought he was immense tonight.”

Schmidt went through the permutations of other Heineken Cup results and seemed most worried about runner-up rivals Montpellier, who host Toulon at home next weekend.

“All to play for but we’re still looking at miracles, to be honest,” he remarked.

Leinster 33-14 Scarlets

LEINSTER — Tries: Healy, Jennings, Fitzgerald, Kearney, Madigan. Conversions: Sexton [3] Madigan [1]

SCARLETS — Tries: Williams. Pens: Thomas [2]. DG: Williams.

As it happened: Leinster v Scarlets, Heineken Cup

Hands up if you had Jonathan Walters in your Fantasy Football team today?

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