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Champions edge out Connacht

04th January 2014 20:45

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Gordon DArcy Leinster

Scorer: Gordon D'Arcy

A controversial late Gordon D'Arcy try saw Leinster to scrape past provincial Pro12 rivals Connacht 16-8 in Galway on Saturday.

The visitors headed into the match having taken the spoils away at Ulster, while Connacht were looking to bounce back from defeat at Munster.

It was a tight encounter from the first kick, with the first points not being scored until the 22nd minute, when Fionn Carr crossed for the game's first try. The flying winger latched out onto Robbie Henshaw's crisp pass following great work from the backs to score, though the conversion was missed.

Ian Madigan reduced the arrears as half-time approached, but Jack Carty's penalty on the stroke of the interval restored Connacht's five-point advantage.

There were few chances for either team to add to their tally during the opening exchanges of the second half, though the deadlock was broken either side of the hour with a quickfire double of penalty goals from Jimmy Gopperth, whose efforts put Leinster 8-9 in front with less than 20 minutes remaining.

The concession swept Connacht into action, though they were unable to find the points to turn the tie on its head. Instead, Leinster succeeded in adding to their lead in the closing stages of the match, through D'Arcy's try. D'Arcy scrambled over under the posts following a heavy period of away attacking pressure. His effort was referred to the TMO, and there was strong suspicions of a forward pass in the build-up, but the score was awared; Gopperth converting to secure a welcome victory for Leinster.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Try: Carr
Pen: Carty

For Leinster:
Try: D'Arcy
Con: Gopperth
Pens: Madigan, Gopperth 2

The teams:

Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 John Muldoon, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Michael Swift, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Dave Kearney

Referee: George Clancy (Ire)

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