Planet Rugby

Leinster leave it late

02nd November 2007 22:00

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Leinster needed two late tries from Gordon D'Arcy and a 100 per cent kicking return from Christian Warner to see off a stubborn Connacht side 29-9 in Friday's Magners League derby at the RDS.

The biggest crowd of the league season - 16,753 - watched Leinster put in a sub-standard performance that will hardly have Leicester Tigers, their Heineken Cup opponents next weekend, quaking in their boots.

But D'Arcy bagged two opportunistic scores and Warner's seven kicks out of seven were enough for Leinster to chalk up their seventh straight win over Connacht.

The westerners, who led 9-6 at half-time, fell away in the final quarter and could have done with Tim Donnelly's three penalty misses going the other side of the posts.

Connacht, whose captain Andrew Farley passed a late fitness test on a hamstring injury, showed much more urgency in the first quarter and would have been further in front at the break but for two missed penalties from Donnelly.

As evidence of Connacht's appetite for the game, Leinster skipper Brian O'Driscoll was sent hurtling to the ground as flanker Michael McCarthy carried forward with menace for the visitors.

Johnny O'Connor thrived at the breakdown, although a stricter referee could have helped Leinster as their attacks through the middle were constantly slowed up.

Donnelly missed a sixth-minute shot at the posts from the left but he made amends three minutes later from the opposite side.

The visitors were caught all over the place on the restart though as Malcolm O'Kelly flicked the ball back on the Leinster side and Luke Fitzgerald ghosted towards the posts.

Quick hands led to D'Arcy being driven over the line but television match offical David Keane ruled the effort out with Ofisa Treviranus doing well to hold up the Ireland centre.

Jamie Heaslip was stopped short off the resulting scrum and as Leinster began to click, only brilliant cover defence from Gavin Duffy and Treviranus kept Fitzgerald out in the left corner.

Warner, who got the nod at fly half with Felipe Contepomi attending his brother's wedding, booted Leinster level in the 19th-minute but Connacht showed glimpses of what they are capable when a great incision by O'Connor got them close to the hosts' whitewash.

Donnelly kicked the second of two quick penalty opportunities and with Leinster's frustrations continuing despite a second Warner penalty, a smartly hit 35-metre drop goal from Donnelly nosed his side in front for half-time.

Warner tied up the game, nine minutes into the second half, with a penalty from the 22-metre line and Leinster gradually got on top with Connacht's limited attack lacking the required penetration.

Two further penalties from Warner, sandwiching a Donnelly miss, edged Leinster 15-9 in front. Then Fitzgerald sliced through on an excellent run to pass for Heaslip who sent the supporting D'Arcy dashing over for a 70th-minute try.

The home win was completed nine minutes later when a flat pass from Shane Horgan sent D'Arcy through a gap on the left flank and the number 12 sidestepped his way past Duffy to crash over for another seven-pointer.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: D'Arcy 2

Cons: Warner 2

Pens: Warner 5

For Connacht:

Pens: Donnelly 2

Drop goal: Donnelly

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Christian Warner, 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Keith Gleeson, 6 Stephen Keogh, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ollie le Roux.

Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Juan Francisco Gomez, 18 Cameron Jowitt, 19 Shane Jennings, 20 Cillian Willis, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Rob Kearney.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Ofisa Treviranus, 13 Mel Deane, 12 Aidan Wynne, 11 Keith Mathews, 10 Tim Donnelly, 9 Conor McPhillips, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Ray Ofisa/Michael McCarthy, 5 David Gannon/Andrew Farley (c), 4 Michael Swift, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 John Fogarty, 1 Brett Wilkinson

Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Andrew Farley/David Gannon, 19 Michael McCarthy/Ray Ofisa, 20 Conor O'Loughlin, 21 Peter Durcan, 22 Darren Yapp.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Touch judges: Simon McDowell (Ireland), M Black (Ireland)

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