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Experienced Leinster see off Wasps

05th April 2013 21:52

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28 points: Ian Madigan

Leinster ran in five tries to progress to the Challenge Cup semi-finals by beating Wasps 48-28 in an entertaining spectacle on Friday.

The Irish side's experience in Europe shone through as they batted away a spirited challenge from Wasps, controlling possession and territory in the second half to keep the hosts at arm's length.

Rob Kearney's try before the 60-minute mark wrapped up the result, as Leinster now return to Dublin for the semi-final against Biarritz with an eye on winning some silverware at home in the Irish capital in May.

Wasps have won many admirers thanks to the performances of their talented youngsters this season and will have gained many more after this outing, but it was a key error from full-back Elliot Daly at the beginning of the second-half which lead to Leinster's third try and left the hosts chasing the game.

They had started so boldly - winger Christian Wade underlining his rising reputation with a stunning pair of tries in the opening quarter.

Wade toured with England to South Africa last year but has kicked on this season - and he showed it in abundance at Adams Park with a fine brace of tries in the first-half. He was fingertips away from a hat-trick chasing a kick on the stroke of half-time.

Ian Madigan however showed that he is another talent that cannot be ignored, finishing with 28 points to his name.

The Leinster fly-half's monster boot and nifty footwork kept the visitors in front throughout as he built on a fine solo try with an excellent kicking performance - the youngster reiterating that Leinster will not miss Johnny Sexton as sorely as first predicted when he leaves at the end of the season.

Wasps wasted no time in taking the lead, Wade finding enough space down the right wing to go over after good work from Italy international Andrea Masi in the build-up.

Leinster hit back through a try from Gordon D'Arcy - who had an excellent game - before Wade sent a message to the onlooking Warren Gatland and Stuart Lancaster by breaking through a gap and speeding round the tackle of Rob Kearney for his second try in 15 minutes.

Madigan responded with a special try of his own - slicing between Joe Launchbury and Marco Wentzel before rounding Elliot Daly to put Leinster in front, adding a penalty minutes later to put Leinster 17-12 ahead.

Robinson responded with a penalty for Wasps but good work from Cian Healy at the scrum lead to Madigan striking again, Leinster going into half-time 20-15 ahead.

Sustained pressure from Leinster after the break yielded first a penalty for Madigan, before the error from Daly was pounced upon by Isa Nacewa and recycled by Mike Ross, who burrowed over with a little help from his friends - Leinster leading 30-15 and leaving Wasps on the ropes.

Both sides traded penalties as Leinster continued to take control, stretching the Wasps defence and winning the collisions before sealing the win as Rob Kearney crashed over following fine work by Sean O'Brien.

Tom Varndell grabbed two tries either side of another score for Leinster from Nacewa as both teams used the full width of the pitch to attack, carrying on from another enthralling match the previous night at Kingsholm between Gloucester and Biarritz.

A further penalty from Madigan added another touch of gloss to a busy scoreboard, Leinster underlining their class as Wasps left with plenty to be proud of, but an indication of the work to be done ahead in order to become a force in Europe once again.

The scorers:

For Wasps:
Tries: Wade 2, Varndell 2
Cons: Robinson
Pens: Robinson 2

For Leinster:
Tries: D'Arcy, Madigan, Ross, R Kearney, Nacewa
Cons: Madigan 4
Pens: Madigan 5

Wasps: 15 Elliott Daly, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Joe Launchbury, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Tim Payne, 18 William Taylor, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Stephen Jones, 23 Hugo Southwell.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Quinn Roux, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 John Cooney, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 Andrew Conway.

Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Marius Mitrea (Italy), Neil Hennessy (Wales)

by Ben Coles
@bencoles_

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