Planet Rugby

Leinster grab the spoils

19th September 2008 22:31

Share:

Leinster won the clash of the reigning Magners League and EDF Energy Cup champions as Felipe Contepomi and Isa Nacewa kicked the league title holders to a hard-earned 19-13 win over the Ospreys in Dublin on Friday.

The RDS was thronged to see two of the league's top teams put their early-season unbeaten records on the line and it was a defensively-sound Leinster who came up trumps with Contepomi and Nacewa kicking 14 points between them.

However, come May, Leinster could look back and rue the last minute of this game when they allowed Nikki Walker to barge through for a try which James Hook brilliantly converted from the left touchline, to salvage a bonus point for the Ospreys.

Sean Holley's side, showing 12 changes from last week's win over Glasgow, lost Sonny Parker to a training ground knock and had to draft David Bishop into their midfield to partner his brother Andrew.

Leinster lined out as selected with New Zealander Nacewa slotting in at number 10 for the first time and team captain Leo Cullen returning from shoulder surgery.

The Ospreys made much the better start. Scrum-half Rhys Webb sniped around the fringes and teed up Hook for a fourth-minute drop-goal attempt which he miscued.

Contepomi, playing again at inside centre, was a ball of energy and his interception and dinked kick out to the right was well taken by the advancing Nacewa, as Leinster edged into the visitors' 22.

Both sides pressed and probed but it took a 20th-minute drop goal from Hook to open the scoring after a concerted build-up from the Welsh pack.

Lee Byrne and Tommy Bowe threatened out wide for the Ospreys but it was Leinster's in-form winger Luke Fitzgerald who broke the try deadlock after 24 minutes.

Brian O'Driscoll's flat pass out to the left sprung Contepomi into space and with Bowe and his team-mates left chasing, three deft passes between the Argentinian and Fitzgerald put the 21-year-old over for his fourth try of the campaign.

Contepomi comfortably converted but the Ospreys stormed back before the break. Hook kicked the first of two penalty attempts to cut Leinster's lead to 7-6 at half-time.

The Ospreys upped the ante on the resumption, controlling play for long spells but never really stretching the Leinster rearguard.

Prop Paul James came off the bench to make a record 102nd appearance for the Welsh region, as the game hung in the balance.

But Leinster, coming to the fore in the final quarter, showed an enviable ability to score off two or three phases.

Contepomi landed a morale-boosting penalty to ruin the Ospreys' hard work. And while the visitors' handling let them down, Leinster began to click within sight of the finishing line.

Helped by a sterling lineout effort by man-of-the-match Bernard Jackman, Leinster gained another kickable penalty which Contepomi duly converted.

Cian Healy then had a try ruled out for a knock on, yet Leinster's late flourish was suitably crowned by two priceless drop goals from Nacewa, both from close range.

At 19-6 ahead, Leinster looked to have done enough to send the Ospreys home with no reward, but up popped monster winger Walker to charge over in the left corner after a 50-metre solo burst.

Hook's conversion had added meaning as the bonus point moves Holley's men to the top of the table, with Leinster third and with a game in hand.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Try: Fitzgerald

Con: Contempomi

Pens: Contempomi 2

Drop goals: Nacewa 2

For the Ospreys:

Try: Walker

Con: Hook

Pen: Hook

Drop goal: Hook

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Isa Nacewa, 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Cameron Jowitt, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Ronan McCormack.

Replacements: 16 Cian Healy, 17 John Fogarty, 18 Malcolm O'Kelly, 19 Stephen Keogh, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Chris Keane, 22 Rob Kearney.

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 James Hook, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ryan Jones (c), 7 Steve Tandy, 6 Jonathan Thomas, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun-wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Duncan Jones.

Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Paul James, 18 Ian Gough, 19 Filo Tiatia, 20 Rhodri Wells, 21 Daniel Biggar, 22 Johnny Vaughton.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Touch judges: George Clancy (Ireland), Darragh McCormack (Ireland)

Television match official: Alan Rogan (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26