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Leinster pay dear price

Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:21
O_brien630 Alberto-sgarbi
Treviso win Italian derby
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Leinster moved to second on the Pro12 standings, with a 19-6 win over Ulster in an all-Irish derby on Saturday.

However, loose forward Seán O'Brien is doubtful for Ireland's Six Nations campaign after he left the field with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

Starting only his seventh game of the season, O'Brien has been dogged by niggly injuries of late.

The opening Six Nations fixture - at home to Scotland is a mere five weeks away.

* In the other Saturday match a late Mat Berquist penalty decided the Italian derby as Benetton Treviso squeaked over the line against Zebre.

The home team won 20-15 at Stadio Monigo against a side reduced to 15 men in the final wash-up..

We look at all Saturday's action!

Benetton Treviso 20-15 Zebre

Only a late Mat Berquist penalty decided the Italian derby as Benetton Treviso squeaked over the line against Zebre.

The home team won 20-15 at Stadio Monigo against a side reduced to 15 men in the final wash-up..

Berquist did not have one of his best days in front of the posts - missing four penalties in total - but came up trumps when it mattered by kicking 10 crucial points.

Marco Bortolami's early try saw the visitors claim an early lead but Treviso hit back before the break through scores from Cornelius van Zyl and Manoa Vosawai.

Dries van Schalkwyk responded for Zebre early in the second half before Berquist took charge, opposing kicker Luciano Orquera only managing to rack up five points.

Zebre may be anchored to the bottom of the Pro12 table but they saw off Cardiff Blues earlier this season for their first ever win in the tournament.

But Benetton Treviso are no pushovers at the Stadio Monigo, their three Pro12 wins this season having come at home.

And a full-blooded derby came to life in predictably rapid fashion with both sides trading blows and two missed penalties through fly-halves Berquist and Orquera.

With 12 minutes on the clock it was the visitors who struck first, a fine breakaway from Gonzalo Garcia finished off by Italy legend Bortolami for the score.

Orquera could not convert but he returned his kicking radar just six minutes later to boot a penalty through from 40 metres and leave the home crowd stunned.

But the Treviso faithful did not have to wait long for some joy of their own as almost straight from kick-off, van Zyl charged down a kick to run clean through and dot down.

Berquist's conversion chopped Zebre's lead down to one point but for much of the first half there on in, both teams were having difficulty converting pressure into points.

However Orquera thought he had crashed over to restore the advantage for the away side - only for Dion Berryman to have knocked on in the build-up.

The breakthrough finally arrived just before the interval and it was Vosawai who grabbed the initiative for Treviso after the lock snuck over the whitewash.

Not to be broken, Zebre emerged for the second half with renewed vigour and drew first blood as van Schalkwyk bundled through to complete a well-worked counter attack.

After Luciano Leibson was caught offside Berquist was handed the chance to edge Treviso back ahead but the New Zealander missed his second penalty of the afternoon.

But on the hour-mark Berquist made amends from the tee before failing to slot through another one to strengthen the home side's grip on the game.

The game was finally poised with ten minutes to go and Berquist came to the fore when it mattered to kick through a late penalty, while Zebre could not push for a last score following Quintin Geldenhuys' and Filippo Ferrarini's late sin bins.

The scorers:

For Benetton Treviso:
Tries:
Van Zyl, Vosawai
Cons: Berquist 2
Pens: Berquist 2

For Zebre:
Tries:
Bortolami, Van Schalkwyk
Con: Orquera
Pen: Orquera

Yellow cards: Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre, 79), Filippo Ferrarini (Zebras, 80)

Teams:

Benetton Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Christian Loamanu, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Alberto De Marchi.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Valerio Bernabò, 21 Dean Budd, 22 Tobias Botes, 23 James Ambrosini.

Zebre: 15 Guglielmo Palazzani, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Dion Berryman 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Mauro Bergamasco, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain) 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Giulio Toniolatti, 23 Filippo Ferrarini.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Andrea Spadoni, Elia Rizzo (both FIR)
TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)

Leinster 19-6 Ulster

Leinster beat Irish rivals Ulster in a bruising 19-6 win at home in Dublin in the Pro12.

The reigning Pro12 champions seemed to have everything against them prior to the Saturday's encounter at the RDS having suffered back-to-back defeats, while Ulster were looking for their sixth win on the bounce.

Ulster boss Mark Anscombe opted for nine changes to the team that beat Zebre 13-6 at home while his opposite number Matt O'Connor retained nine of the starting XV that lost to Edinburgh last week.

Both sides traded early blows with the boot and Ulster took an early lead when Paddy Jackson slotted through the uprights after Leinster were penalised at the breakdown.

Shortly after Leinster flyhalf Jimmy Gopperth levelled the scores, but two minutes later another effort drifted wide.

In front of a roaring home crowd Leinster had the majority of possession but were unable to break a strong Ulster defence when it came to the final ten metres.

After 14 minutes Leinster had a chance to take the lead for the first time when Ulster tighthead Declan Fitzpatrick was caught offside but Gopperth's third attempt was pushed right of the posts.

Leinster then exploded into life when Mike McCarthy snatched an Ulster lineout and centre Noel Reid broke through the defensive line to set up the attack. However the home side gave away a penalty yards from try-line.

Despite being on the backfoot Ulster took the lead for the second time through the boot of Jackson.

Leinster tighthead Mike Ross - a blood replacement for Martin Moore - was penalised for offside at the ruck and Jackson's long-range effort flew straight through the sticks.

However, in what would be a turning point in the game, Ulster openside flanker Sean Doyle was yellow carded for not moving away from the tackle following earlier warning from referee John Lacey.

A minute later Leinster were able to capitalise in the face of a short benched Ulster, Luke Fitzgerald was able to break and with a one-handed offload found Jordi Murphy who powered over the line. Gopperth slotted home to make it 10-6.

Leinster drew first blood in the second half through the boot of Gopperth who made it 13-6 from a penalty on 49 minutes.

However Ulster went on the front foot with replacements Ruan Pienaar at scrum-half and Jared Payne on for full-back Ricky Andrew leading the attack.

Leinster suffered a blow when Irish international Sean O'Brien was taken off for Dominic Ryan having suffered what looked to be an injury to his left shoulder.

However they earned welcome relief against the Ulster attack when Gopperth slotted home a penalty to increase the lead to ten points.

And four minutes later Gopperth took his tally to 14 points with his fourth penalty of the night right in front of the sticks taking the score to 19-6.

Ulster, who failed to earn any second half points came close to scoring a try in the closing minutes of the match.

They were awarded a scrum six metres from the tryline after Leinster knocked on in the tackle.

The ball was shipped out to Jackson who chipped the ball through to chasing Payne who, under pressure from Ian Madigan, was ruled by the TMO to have knocked the ball forward with his fingertips leaving the visitors short of picking up a losing bonus point.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Try:
Murphy
Con: Gopperth
Pens: Gopperth 4

For Ulster:
Pens:
Jackson 2

Yellow card: Sean Doyle (Ulster, 36)

Teams:

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Leo Cullen (captain),  3 Martin Moore, 2 Aaron Dundon, 1 Michael Bent.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Mike Ross, 18 Jack O'Connell, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Dominic Ryan,  21 Luke McGrath,  22 Ian Madigan,  23 Darragh Fanning.

Ulster: 15 Ricky Andrew, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Robbie Diack (captain), 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Tom Court, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Jared Payne, 23 Michael Allen.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Peter Fitzgibbon, Eddie Hagan-O'Connell (both Ireland)
TMO: Sean Flannery (Ireland)

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