Planet Rugby

Leinster sneak into PRO12 final

11th May 2013 21:35

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Jamie Heaslip

Crucial score: Jamie Heaslip

Leinster defied a highly-charged performance from Glasgow to set up an all-Ireland RaboDirect PRO12 final against Ulster.

A try from Jamie Heaslip and 12 points from the boot of fellow British and Irish Lion Jonny Sexton helped the former Heineken Cup champions to a 17-15 victory that sees them through to their second Dublin final.

Already assured of a place in the European Challenge Cup final at the RDS Stadium on May 17, Leinster went into the game as favourites against a side they defeated by four points at the same stage of the competition this time last year. And it was the Irish province who were first on the scoreboard when Sexton made no mistake with his second attempt at goal on 12 minutes.

However, Glasgow responded almost immediately to take the lead after Leinster had been rocked by the loss of talisman Brian O'Driscoll to injury.

Livewire scrum-half Nikola Matawalu burrowed his way over from close range to score a try under the posts which Stuart Hogg converted, before Glasgow went close to extending their advantage only for prop Ryan Grant to be held up over the line.

Hogg struck a penalty to make it 10-3 to Glasgow, but Leinster hit back with a try for Heaslip when the number eight broke free from a driving maul to score the second try of the evening.

Sexton missed the conversion but added a penalty late on in the half while Matawalu was in the sin-bin to hand Leinster a one-point interval lead.

What the third quarter lacked in points it more than made up for it in the physicality stakes with big hits going in from both sides. With just over an hour gone Leinster were denied a second try because of a forward pass but Sexton punished Glasgow ill-discipline with another three-pointer.

Sexton struck the upright with his next shot at goal but the attempt that followed, from the halfway line, was true to hand Leinster a seven-point cushion.

Glasgow's never-say-die spirit kept them in the hunt and they were rewarded with a try for Mark Bennett. Crucially the conversion was missed and Leinster hung on to maintain their hopes of a league and cup double.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Heaslip
Pens: Sexton 4

For Glasgow:
Try: Matawalu, Bennett
Con: Hogg
Pens: Hogg
Yellow Card: Matawalu

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien/Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 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/Rhys Ruddock, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Andrew Conway.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 DTH Van der Merwe, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Ryan Wilson (c), 7 John Barclay, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Moray Low, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Rob Harley, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Mark Bennett

Referee: Pascal Gauzere

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