Sports Digest: Leinster to play Cardiff Blues at home in the quarterfinals of the Heineken Cup
A round up of sports news from the last week
“Even with the last scrum with nine seconds left I still wasn’t convinced until the ref had blown the whistle and the ball was off the park, and people were invading the pitch,” said coach Eric Elwood.
“Unfortunately in Connacht we don’t make things easy, but I have to acknowledge the commitment of the boys. To defend like we did with the discipline we did, the commitment was excellent. Our tackle count was two or three times what theirs was but that’s nothing new for us.
“I think everyone got their reward tonight - the players and the crowd, and it was not the prettiest of games - but we have been knocking on the door for the last 13 weeks so I am quite happy to take an ugly win, no problem.”
Ulster lost at Clermont on Saturday but still made it through to the last eight of the Heineken Cup thanks to Connacht’s Friday night win over Harlequins in Galway.
The Irish province came desperately close to ending Clermont’s unbeaten home record in a 19-15 defeat and will now travel to play Munster in April.
Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin said, “We came here wanting to get a home quarter-final for our fans and I think that’s why we’re exceptionally disappointed because we felt in the first-half we maybe had a couple of opportunities.
“What we wanted to do was back up last week, to show that we are proper contenders in this competition.
“Now what we’ve got to do, no matter where we go in the last eight, we’ve got to turn in another performance.”
Keane On Target
ROBBIE Keane scored two wonder goals against boyhood club Wolves, then backed manager Mick McCarthy to keep his old team in the Premier League.
The Ireland captain marked his first start for Aston Villa with the two goals in a 3-2 win at his old Molineux stomping ground on Saturday.
On loan from the LA Galaxy, Keane’s goals only helped to pile the pressure on McCarthy as Wolves look to avoid relegation again.
“I think Wolves are good enough to stay up and Mick is the man to keep them up,” said Keane, who started life as a professional footballer with the club when he was just 16 and refused to celebrate either goal.
“I had wonderful times at Wolves and they are a club that looked after me as a kid. I’ll never forget them, they did so much for me. I’ve got a lot of friends at the club still and it’s always great to come back.
“I’ll never celebrate if I score against them. I never celebrate when I score against any of my former clubs out of respect. But you have to be professional, do the job for the team that you are with, and that’s Aston Villa.”
Keane was so good on his first start for Villa that boss Alex McLeish wants to sign him on a permanent deal if possible, but Ireland’s record goal scorer is adamant the move is all to do with his fitness ahead of the new MLS season and Euro 2012.
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