The Brisbane native, who only cleared up his continuation with the European champions last week after London Irish agreed to nullify a contract he’d signed in January, was at his brilliant best, scoring a superbly incisive try and two jaw-dropping in-motion drop-goals: a versatile virtuoso display reminiscent of Springbok Jannie De Beer’s unforgettable five drop goals against England in the 1999 World Cup.
Sealed by further tries from classy centre Keith Earls (2) and frontline powerhouse Paul O’Connell, plus Ronan O’Gara’s flawless place-kicking, the holders’ 43-9 victory, followed by Leinster’s heroic, almost Munster-like 5-6 overhauling of Harlequins, has set up the mother and father of all Heineken Cup semi-finals between two Grand Slam-studded sides; not forgetting in our nationalistic fervour the contribution of foreigners like Warwick, Lefeimi Mafi and Leinster’s starman Rocky Elsom.
With Jonathan Sexton’s suspension for reckless use of the boot on Munster creative spark Mafi during their recent Magners League tie expiring in time, there’ll be a bit of good old-fashioned grudge to go with the provinces’ friendly rivalry (Felipe Contepomi excepted).
It promises to be an unmissable occasion, watched by a possible club-rugby world-record crowd in Croke Park on May 2nd. Now I wonder who Declan Kidney will be rooting for…