Planet Rugby

Leinster go clear at the top

21st March 2008 21:24

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Leinster have taken a ten-point lead at the top of the Magners League after a comfortable 34-18 win over Glasgow at the RDS on Friday.

Tries from returning Ireland internationals Shane Horgan and Jamie Heaslip powered Leinster to the bonus point, after first-half efforts from Shane Jennings and Michael Berne.

Glasgow were game opponents but tries in the final quarter from Moray Low and Johnnie Beattie proved to be only consolation scores.

Buoyed by their win over the Ospreys last time out, the wind-assisted Warriors got up an early head of steam thanks to two Colin Gregor penalties.

Leinster flanker Keith Gleeson was penalised for holding onto the ball at a ruck and Gregor mopped up with a smartly-struck kick for a seventh-minute lead.

The Leinster pack showed good cohesion in the tight, with some short snappy runs from front-rowers Bernard Jackman and Ollie Le Roux getting them within range.

But when a Leinster attacking move broke down, Glasgow's Tom Evans did well to chase down a kick and force Horgan and Rob Kearney into a blunder which allowed Gregor to put his side 6-0 up.

However, Leinster took control for the remainder of the first half with Kearney, Heaslip and the electric Luke Fitzgerald lighting up their play.

Fitzgerald was proving too hot to handle for the Glasgow defence and the livewire winger managed to shrug off five tacklers before being brought to ground near the visitors' 22.

Standing offside, prop Low kicked the ball free from the ensuing ruck and Felipe Contepomi stepped up to land his one and only penalty goal.

Two minutes later, Glasgow's doughty defence gave way. After a great right wing surge involving Heaslip and Kearney, flanker Jennings broke through two tackles and his momentum helped him dive over the try line.

Contepomi converted and with Glasgow struggling to get out of their half - Beattie was notably shunted back as he tried to break off the base of a scrum - Leinster struck for try number two.

Right on the stroke of half-time, Contepomi dinked a grubber-kick through and with the Glasgow defenders concentrating on Horgan, stocky centre Berne was able to reach the bouncing ball first and score close to the posts.

The extras arrived from the boot of Contepomi, pushing his side 17-6 ahead at the break, and the table-toppers moved further clear on the hour when another delicious kick through from Contepomi was dotted down by Horgan.

Leinster had the bonus point in their sights but a defensive lapse from stand-in captain Leo Cullen allowed Low to burrow over off a ruck for a 68th-minute try for Glasgow.

Gregor converted to narrow the gap to 22-13 but that was as close as the Scots could get as late tries from Heaslip, who dived over for his fifth in nine league games, and Horgan sandwiched Beattie's impressive breakaway score.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: Jennings, Berne, Horgan 2, Heaslip

Cons: Contempomi 3

Pen: Contempomi

For Glasgow:

Tries: Low, Beattie

Con: Gregor

Pens: Gregor 2

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Christian Warner, 12 Michael Berne, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Keith Gleeson, 6 Shane Jennings, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ollie le Roux.

Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Trevor Hogan, 19 Cameron Jowitt, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Gary Brown.

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 Lome Fa'atau, 13 Graeme Morrison, 12 Daryl Gibson (c), 11 Thom Evans, 10 Colin Gregor, 9 Sam Pinder, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Donnie Macfadyen, 6 James Eddie, 5 Dan Turner, 4 Andy Newman, 3 Moray Low, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ed Kalman.

Replacements: 16 Eric Milligan, 17 Justin Va'a, 18 Opeta Palepoi, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Ruaridh Jackson, 21 Scott Barrow, 22 Hefin O'Hare.

Referee: Hugh Watkins (Wales)

Touch judges: Colin Stanley (Ireland), David Wilkinson (Ireland)

TMO: John Carvill (Ireland)

Assessor: Tim Aplin (Ireland)

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