Leinster hold out against Ospreys

Date published: March 5 2016

Leinster held onto a slender lead to claim a 19-16 win over Ospreys on Saturday in the PRO12 at the RDS Arena in Dublin.

Leinster controlled the first half and went into the break well ahead thanks to Dan Leavy's opening try, but they were pegged back in the second half by Dan Baker. 

With a hundred percent home record this season, the RDS Arena has been a real fortress this campaign. But it didn't start ideally, with Ospreys going three points in front after five minutes. 

Sam Davies slotted through to put the Welsh side into the early lead. The visitors certainly started the better, putting the pressure on Leinster's back line for much of the first quarter of an hour. 

But unsurprisingly, one of the first forays forward for the hosts produced the opening try. Ian Madigan spotted a gap, offloading to Fergus McFadden who fed it to the advancing Dan Leavy. 

Leavy went over and Madigan struck his first points of the afternoon. The Leinster kicker made it five points for the afternoon minutes after, putting through three more points as the home side made it into double figures. 

The half slowed down after the opening try, but Leinster went into the break in full control. 

That was due to the ever reliable Madigan, who sent through two more penalties within the final ten minutes of the half. 

He had a chance to increase it, but fired a late penalty wide to end the half. Davies opened the second half account with a penalty, but it was a slow first 10 minutes as Ospreys looked to overturn a 13 point half-time deficit. 

Leavy almost worked his way through the Ospreys' defence after a neat run forward, but lost possession just like it looked as if he would race for the line again. 

Ospreys continued to get more and more into the game and got their rewards thanks to their first try. Baker went over with Davies adding the extras, and an intriguing final 20 minutes was set up with just a three point gap in favour of the hosts. 

It came after Rhys Webb marched his side into the 22, with Baker having the final say as he nudged over. Madigan kicking another penalty through to edge up the lead to six. Davies was on hand again though to just up the nerves racing around the RDS, putting another penalty through with the clock running down. 

Ospreys did put the pressure on with a couple of minutes to go, but couldn't break down a stubborn Leinster defence and the hosts picked up the slenderest of victories.

The scorers:

For Leinster: 
Try: Leavy    
Con: Madigan  
Pens: Madigan 4  

For Ospreys:
Try: Baker
Con: Davies
Pens: Davies 3  

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Isa Nacewa (c), 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mick Kearney, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Noel Reid

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Josh Matavesi, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Ben John, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Rhys Webb (c), 8 Dan Baker, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 James King, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements:16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Jonathan Spratt, 23 Tom Grabham

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 43rd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton, Richard Kerr (both IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)