Planet Rugby

Leinster stay in the hunt with big win

05th May 2007 22:00


Felipe Contepomi

Lucky Eleven: Contepomi scored a try and landed three conversions

Leinster got the bonus-point win they craved to keep themselves in the Magners League title hunt - but they left the 31-0 win late against bottom side Borders at a packed out Donnybrook.

Leinster's fourth try did not arrive until the 75th-minute as the lowly Scots put in some stout defending but ultimately fell short against Michael Cheika's super-charged side.

Cheika's men move back to the top of the league table with this result, and they will take a three-point cushion to the Arms Park next Friday for what is effectively a title decider against second-placed Cardiff Blues.

However, the Ospreys - with a game in hand - could also have a say.

Tonight's game marked the last home outings for Leinster retirees Reggie Corrigan, Guy Easterby and Will Green - and it was also the province's last match at Donnybrook before redevelopment work begins at their old Dublin ground.

Buoyed by a large attendance of 8,000, Leinster made a lightning start and put 14 points on the board in as many minutes.

In the 10th minute, Felipe Contepomi took the wrong option as he failed to spot an unmarked Gordon D'Arcy out on the right flank.

But from a subsequent lineout attack, a crisp feed from Easterby gave Contepomi the time and space to power over close to the posts.

Contepomi converted his try and a burst forward by Shane Horgan should have had Leinster toasting a second touchdown in as many minutes - but when the ball was flung out wide, Girvan Dempsey spilled a difficult pass.

But try number two did follow on 14 minutes when D'Arcy gobbled up a loose ball and shrugged off a poor tackle from Steve Jones to dash in behind the posts and allow Contepomi an easy conversion.

Chasing that four-try win, the Leinster pressure was relentless with Corrigan, in his 138th provincial game, stopped just short of the line and Dempsey having a try ruled out for a forward flick pass from Rob Kearney.

The Reivers did have their chances. Opeta Palepoi knocked on as he lunged for the whitewash after the Scots had done well to force a five-metre scrum, and their forwards did hold their own, but only some impatient play and forced passes left Leinster try-less for the remainder of the first half.

Leinster began the second period with as much urgency as they did in the first and they worked the ball through a number of phases, with Denis Hickie and D'Arcy involved multiple times, for Jamie Heaslip to touch down in the 51st minute and make himself the joint-top try-scorer in the league.

Contepomi failed to convert Heaslip's seventh score of the campaign but it was tries the crowd craved and Leinster's resistance paid off in the closing five minutes as replacements Brian Blaney and Christian Warner both crossed the visitors' whitewash.

Hickie was again at the coalface as Leinster pressed and probed and eventually Blaney found space, wide out on the left, to crash over under Dougie Flockhart's tackle.

Blaney then turned provider as he offloaded for Warner to slice through a tired Reivers defence and complete a record 15th straight home win in the league for Leinster.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: Contepomi, D'Arcy, Blaney, Warner

Cons: Contepomi 3, D'Arcy

Pen: Hickie

For Border Reivers:




The teams:

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Rob Kearney, 13 Gordon D'Arcy, 12 Shane Horgan, 11 Denis Hickie, 10 Felipe Contepomi (c), 9 Guy Easterby, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Keith Gleeson, 6 Stephen Keogh, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Trevor Hogan, 3 Will Green, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Reggie Corrigan.

Replacements: 16 Cian Healy, 17 Brian Blaney, 18 Owen Finegan, 19 Cameron Jowitt, 20 Chris Whitaker, 21 Christian Warner, 22 Luke Fitzgerald.

Border Reivers: 15 Stuart Moffat, 14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 Garry Law, 12 Calum MacRae (c), 11 Nick De Luca, 10 Steve Jones 9 Rob Chrystie, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Andy Miller, 6 Scott Gray, 5 Opeta Palepoi, 4 Stuart Grimes, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Steve Scott, 1 Gavin Kerr.

Replacements: 16 Sean Crombie, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Craig Hamilton, 19 John Dalziel, 20 Brendan McKerchar, 21 Gregor Townsend, 22 Bryan Rennie.

Referee: Hugh Watkins (WRU)

Touch judges: Ger English (IRFU), P Roche (IRFU)

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