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Schmidt: Top two finish unlikely

Guinness PRO12 Editor

4 Apr 2011

Leinster are in for a tough fight for a top-two finish admitted head coach Joe Schmidt after his side were beaten 24-23 by leaders Munster at Thomond Park.

The visitors were looking to continue their five-match winning run over their rivals but a Ronan O’Gara penalty 20 seconds from time clinched victory for Munster and keeps them clear at the top of the Magners League.

With three games remaining, Schmidt’s side have their fate in their own hands in terms of a Play-Off spot but he believes a home semi-final is now out of sight.

“With that result we have squeezed ourselves up there and its really tight,” he admitted.

“The Blues’ draw wasn’t the best for us either and they haven’t got a bad run in so we will have to watch them closely.

“The good thing for us is with three games to go we do have some control over our own fate but to get into the top two is going to be a real struggle.

“Munster were already there before the game tonight but another win puts them in a great position."

Leinster were leading 20-9 at half-time in Limerick after a dominating first forty minutes, but Munster controlled the game after the break and won the derby tie to the delight of their home supporters.

“We couldn’t really get into the second half,” added Schmidt.

“We spoke at half time and said the second half would be really tough and it was.

“We weren’t cohesive at times with our internationals coming back in but I thought we played well overall.

“It’s great to get a game under our belts and there is no greater place to come for a heck of a game.

“I was delighted with the try we scored, but we didn’t have field position or the ball in the second period to replicate the first half performance

“You can’t play Munster in your own half and that was proved tonight.”