Healy brace sinks Clermont
Two tries from Healy seals comfortable victory for Leinster in Dublin
Last Updated: 18/12/10 8:00pm
Healy: Two tries
Leinster took control of Pool Two of the Heineken Cup after a comfortable 24-8 victory over Clermont Auvergne in Dublin.
Prop Cian Healy produced two tries in a man of the match display at the Aviva Stadium, which was rocking with an atmosphere sadly lacking during most of Ireland's autumn internationals.
Sean O'Brien also crossed for the hosts while Jonathan Sexton added a penalty to three conversions as Leinster ran away with the game thanks to a fast start to the second half.
Clermont caused their own downfall after a solid first half, but they only really threatened late on, as Napolioni Nalaga's try ten minutes from time proved to be too little too late.
An entertaining win now puts Leinster five points clear of 2009 Heineken Cup champions Clermont, with games to come at home against Saracens and away at racing Metro.
A thunderous opening saw Leinster come flying out of the traps with Brian O'Driscoll close to going over after just seven minutes, as he was stopped just inches short of the line.
The respite was barely a minute though as Leinster attacked again and the pressure told as Healy was allowed to burrow over the line for the opening try of the match.
Morgan Parra hit back with a penalty on 17 minutes as Clermont came roaring back into the tie, but he then missed a kick from 52 metres and the French side were thwarted by some stern home defence.
A ding-dong encounter was swinging one way then the next as they two sides went to-to-toe, with Healy leading the charge for Leinster and going close again on 34 minutes.
Sexton converted a penalty given for Clermont going off their feet, and Leinster ended an entertaining half deservedly 10-3 in front.
Just like the first half, Leinster started the second half superbly and Nathan Hines was held up just short of the line right after the restart, but again the Irish side kept their foot on the gas and Healy powered over for his second try on 43 minutes.
A stunned Clermont then conceded a third try after throwing the ball into touch with an errant pass just five metres from their own line.
Jamie Heaslip took a quick throw and caught the French side napping as two quick passes resulted in O'Brien diving over for his third Heineken Cup try, with Sexton's conversion making it a comfortable 24-3.
Comfortable was how it stayed until ten minutes from time, when Clermont seemed roused by some off-the-ball argy bargy to launch a powerful drive enabling winger Nalaga to dive over after the rolling maul had initially been held up on the line.
Clermont could not build on that try in the closing stages and Leinster saw the game out comfortably, but had few chances to grab an important fourth try bonus point.