Bath failed to hold the three-time European champions and reach a first European Cup semi-final in nine years. The hosts, littered with players from the Six Nations winning Irish squad, outplayed the visitors and took advantage of their poor first - half performance.
At the interval, everything looked very much as a one sided game, as Leinster had a comfortable lead of 15-5; the Boys in Blue capitalised on a series of penalties awarded to them and Ian Madigan was on target with all five attempts, while England fly-half George Ford made an excellent touchdown for the visitors in the 21st minute.
Bath showed their revival in the second-half, and started to look dangerous; Leinster were hanging on for their life under waves of the visitors’ attacks brilliantly orchestrated by Ford, who was at the core of everything the West Countrymen did.
In the 48th minute Stuart Hooper scored Bath’s second try, after he powered over from a classy break by their stand-out player Ford, which he then converted, but four minutes later Madigan’s sixth penalty put the hosts six points clear. The visitors then had a chance, when their full back Anthony Watson made a break before passing the ball to Ford, who in turn handed it to Horacio Aquilla, but the winger did not manage to score in a critical point of the match.
Ford then replied with a penalty of his own to set up the score to 18-15 with six minutes left; the visitors thought they would land the drop – goal that would level the scores to bring it to extra-time, as Sean O’Brien handled in the ruck, but Bath's Matt Garvey was harshly penalised instead. Three-time champions Leinster won and are now into the last four of the competition, as they are eying up the chance to get to their fourth trophy since 2009. Ian Madigan’s six penalty goals at the Aviva Stadium sent the Dubliners through to an away tie against Toulon or Wasps in Marseilles or Brighton in a fortnight.
Other semi-finalist will be either Racing Metro or Saracens, who will play Clermont Auvergne, as this revamped tournament builds in double-quick time to the final at Twickenham on 2nd May. #Rugby