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Leinster hold off rivals Munster

Sun, 07 Oct 2012 01:32
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Brian O'Driscoll's try proved to be the difference as Leinster got back to winning ways by holding on for a 30-21 PRO12 win against a battling Munster.

A blistering opening half hour saw three tries and five lead changes, Richardt Strauss taking first blood when he touched down after nine minutes before an almost immediate reply from Munster with Peter O'Mahony scoring in the corner.

Ian Madigan grabbed Leinster's second try, converted by Jonathan Sexton, who added a penalty for a 20-11 lead before Ronan O'Gara replied with three points of his own before half-time.

Another Sexton penalty and O'Driscoll's try, confirmed by the TMO, appeared to have put the contest to bed with Sexton converting to make it 30-14 after 56 minutes.

But Conor Murray scored an opportunistic try in the left-hand corner which was converted by substitute kicker Ian Keatley as Munster put the pressure on, though Leinster held firm for the final 13 minutes.

Leinster made a blistering start with man-of-the-match Eoin Reddan feeding Strauss who charged forward and managed to squirm his way through the Munster defence before touching down while on his back after nine minutes.

Jonathan Sexton added the extras but Munster came roaring back three minutes later, as Mike Sherry found Simon Zebo who cleverly offloaded while on his knees to O'Mahony who touched down, O'Gara missing the conversion.

Munster came straight back though and gained an advantage with O'Gara skewing an attempt at a drop goal though it came back for the penalty on the '22 which he dispatched for an 8-7 lead after ten minutes.

Three minutes later Sexton landed a penalty from 45 metres out before Kevin McLaughlin had to go off with a wrist injury, replaced by Jordi Murphy.

O'Gara missed another drop goal attempt before play went back for a penalty, which he put away for an 11-10 lead to Munster after 14 minutes.

Strauss then came close to getting his second try before Ian Madigan stepped inside Casey Laulala and slid over despite O'Gara clinging onto his ankles.

Sexton put his conversion through the posts to make it 17-11 six minutes before the half hour, though his penalty soon after from 45 metres dropped narrowly short, but he made amends soon after with another for a nine-point lead.

Back came Munster when Strauss was penalised for going off his feet, O'Gara making no mistake to make it 20-14 at half time.

Donnacha Ryan then went in from the side allowing Sexton to bend his kick over for a 23-14 lead and the first score of the second period.

Fergus McFadden and Strauss then charged up the middle before play spread to the left, with Madigan expertly finding O'Driscoll who stayed strong to touch down despite pressure from Denis Hurley, with the TMO confirming the try.

Sexton's conversion from the left was good and Leinster were now 30-14 ahead after 56 minutes, with substitute Damien Varley shown a yellow card for his actions during the play.

Sean Cronin came on for Strauss who left the field to a loud ovation before O'Gara was replaced by Keatley with 20 minutes left.

The pitch began to take its toll with O'Driscoll taken off with an ankle injury while Andrew Conway was soon stretchered off after taking a knock to his face from Zebo's leg.

With 13 minutes left though Munster stole the ball from a rolling Leinster maul and set up a ruck for Murray to capitalise on the unguarded blindside and go over in the left-hand corner, Keatley kicking the conversion from the touchline to make it a nine-point game.

Munster poured forward again from an attacking lineout, with Keatley finding Keith Earls, but a controversial call ruled his pass to Laulala had gone forward, denying him a try, as Leinster held on to seal victory.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: O'Driscoll, Madigan, Strauss
Cons: Sexton 3
Pens: Sexton 3

For Munster:
Tries: Murray, O'Mahony
Con: Keatley
Pens: O'Gara

Teams:

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Fergus McFadden, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (captain), 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Fionn Carr.

Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Keith Earls, 12 Casey Laulala, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O'Mahony, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Dave O'Callaghan, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Peter Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 James Downey.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU, 20th competition game)
Assistant referees: David Wilkinson, Simon McDowell (both IRFU)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (IRFU)

Cardiff Blues 3-18 Glasgow Warriors

Peter Horne scored all 18 points as Glasgow Warriors secured their fourth straight PRO12 win at the expense of Cardiff Blues.

Horne, whose late penalty secured victory over Zebre last week, was imperious once again with the boot - finding target with six of his seven attempts.

The Warriors pack controlled the set-piece throughout the game at Cardiff Arms Park and the Blues were restricted to a solitary Leigh Halfpenny penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Despite losing Dougie Hall to the sin-bin in the final quarter the Warriors never looked like buckling under pressure - the win perfect preparation for next weekend's Heineken Cup clash with Northampton Saints.

Proceedings were cagey in the opening quarter as both sides struggled with handling errors as they attempted to spread the play wide.

After a scoreless opening quarter Cardiff's indiscipline handed the initiative to Warriors, Horne opening up a nine-point lead after repeated infringements at the breakdown.

After a delay on the half-hour mark following a collision between Warriors skipper Al Kellock and Campese Ma'afu Horne added a fourth penalty to stretch the lead to 12.

The visitors were playing the better rugby and dominating at the set-piece but a series of handling errors in the Blues 22 prevented them from crossing the line.

With the clock ticking down to half-time Leigh Halfpenny got the Blues off the mark with a simple penalty in front of the posts to make the score 3-12 at the break.

Glasgow were not deterred by the Blues late score and came storming out of the blocks after the interval, scrumhalf Henry Pyrgos sniping well as the visitors looked to exploit gaps in Cardiff's backline.

Four minutes into the half Horne held his nerve to score from out wide after replacement Taufa'ao Filise was penalised for handling in the ruck, extending the lead to 15-3.

While Horne had a 100 per cent record Halfpenny missed his next chance, dragging a 50th-minute penalty wide of the posts from halfway after a rare Warriors infringement at the breakdown.

As the match approached the hour mark the Warriors continued to turn the screw, Horne extending the lead to 15 points with his sixth successful penalty of the evening.

While Horne was on form in front of the sticks Stuart Hogg was soon the hero at the other end, the replacement full-back getting across to knock the ball out of Halpenny's hands on the line after a good passage of play by the hosts.

Despite being on the back foot for most of the match the Blues were now in the ascendancy but Glasgow refused to buckle in the face of heavy pressure.

With 15 minutes to play Cardiff were handed a lifeline as Warriors hooker Hall was sent to the bin for cynical play at the breakdown.

But the hosts were unable to make the numerical advantage count, and could have fallen further behind on 77 minutes had Horne found target with his seventh penalty of the evening.

By the time Hall returned to proceedings the score-line was the same as when he had left the field, the Blues unable to make a breakthrough as the Warriors defence remained firm to record a comprehensive win.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Pen: Halfpenny

For Glasgow Warriors:
Pens: Horne 6

Teams:

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius (captain), 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Rory Watts-Jones, 5 Lou Reed, 4 James Down, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Taufa'ao Filise, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dan Fish.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (captain), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 18 Ryan Grant, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Byron McGuigan, 23 Stuart Hogg.

Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (FIR, 3rd competition game)
Assistant referees: Tim Hayes, Phil Fear (both WRU)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (WRU)

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