Heineken Cup
Leinster hailed as best in Europe
ESPNscrum Staff
April 27, 2011
Leinster's Jonathan Sexton attempts to break a tackle against Racing , Racing Metro v Leinster, Heineken Cup, Yves du Manoir Stadium, Colombes, France, January 21, 2011
Jonathan Sexton in action during Leinster's victory over racing Metro in January © Getty Images

Leinster have been hailed as "by far and away the best team in Europe" ahead of their Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Toulouse this weekend, by Racing Metro coach Simon Mannix.

Mannix's side were undone by Leinster in the Pool stages of this year's competition, losing 38- 22 in Ireland and 36-11 in France. Leinster made quite an impression on the former Sale and Gloucester fly-half and he believes the Irish Province have the all-round game necessary to win the European Cup for the second time, following their victory in 2009.

"They are far and away the best team I've seen in Europe this year," he told the Irish Times. "They beat us well in both matches, albeit the second time we had a B team out. But they were very, very impressive when they came to our place."

Racing finished third in Pool 2 in their debut Heineken Cup season and currently lie second in the French Top 14 behind Toulouse. They are four points behind the leaders, with both sides guaranteed of going through to the play-offs.

Mannix got another close up view of Leinster's French opponents as Racing beat the 43-21 in the Top 14 recently, and he believes Leinster have the capabilities to overcome the reigning European champions.

"I think Leinster have got everything to defuse the attack of Toulouse," Mannix said. "I think they've got it all. They're well organised, they've got a good back three, they're good in the air and I know the guys they've got in their side work very hard without the ball - the likes of D'Arcy and O'Driscoll in the middle of the field."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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