Leinster v Montpellier, Heineken Cup
Schmidt praises Leinster character
January 21, 2012
Leinster soaked up huge pressure from Montpellier © Getty Images
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt praised his side's character after they booked a home Heineken Cup quarter-final by beating Montpellier 25-3 at the RDS.
Montpellier had no response to Leinster's attacking prowess, with tries from Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney during a wind-assisted first half and a third touchdown from Cian Healy doing most of the damage.
The French side did stretch the hosts in defence however, with the reigning champions forced to withstand a major onslaught in the opening period.
"We have a home quarter-final is the overriding verdict," Schmidt said. "I think when you get the stronger wind, like we did today, there is some pressure to get some advantage.
"A couple of nice plays came off for us to get a couple of tries and build a 17-point lead and I thought there was really good character to defend off our line the way we did.
"There was a mix of the flashy stuff and the real 'roll your sleeves up' stuff. Those two things gave us the half-time advantage and it was fantastic to score after half-time."
With few breaks in the Heineken Cup schedule this season, Leinster's 24-point haul at the top of the pool was an impressive return with the sole glitch coming in the round one draw at Montpellier.
"It's a little bit hard, even more this year because there has been three months consecutive, but it's nice to have a bit of momentum, put a few good results together even if they haven't all been great performances. We just have to bide our time, watch a bit of Six Nations and hope guys come out of that fully fit."
One thing Leinster have this year is strength in depth and Schmidt believes the main difference between where they are this year as opposed to last season is mental toughness.
"I think mentally it was a bit easier starting off this year. The players had a sense of what they needed to do and how they wanted to play," Schmidt said. "Some of the younger players were used in a lot of games last year. We had a lot of confidence in them and they got confidence and experience themselves.
"We have shown during the year that we can score tries, but it was nice to show we have a fair bit of resolve as well, to be able to fight our corner and try to keep guys off our line. I thought that was a really good effort."
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