Planet Rugby

Leinster flex their muscles

25th April 2009 21:58

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Leinster put in a decent rehearsal for next weekend's Heineken Cup semi-final with a 36-13 Magners League win over Glasgow on Saturday.

Leinster scored four second-half tries to put Glasgow Warriors in their place and gain some much-needed momentum ahead of next Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final clash with Munster.

Glasgow were well in contention to become the first Scottish side to win a match at the RDS, leading 13-8 at half-time thanks to tries from Kelly Brown and Lome Fa'atau.

But converted efforts from replacements Shane Horgan, Sean O'Brien (two) and Jonathan Sexton saw last season's Magners League champions pull clear after a testing opening hour.

The result was immaterial as, after Munster's bonus-point win over the Scarlets on Friday, Leinster's title reign is at an end.

Leinster head coach Michael Cheika will nevertheless take a number of plus points into the Croke Park showdown - not least how flanker O'Brien and fly-half Sexton put their hands up for selection, while Brian O'Driscoll and company came through unscathed and Rocky Elsom put in yet another man-of-the-match display.

After a rough run of recent results, Glasgow came to Dublin determined to put in a strong showing and they were unfortunate not to open the scoring when Ruaridh Jackson watched a penalty attempt slide away.

Felipe Contepomi punished a ruck offence from Brown to kick Leinster in front but a huge hit by Moray Low on Contepomi helped the Glasgow forwards pile through and set up Jackson for the levelling kick.

Sean Lineen was forced into an early switch, with Fergus Thomson coming on at hooker for the injured Dougie Hall (calf/ankle) yet, just moments later, Brown gobbled up a dinked kick through from Jackson to touch down in the right corner.

After the missed conversion, a break from Girvan Dempsey got Leinster within scoring range and off a set lineout move, Devin Toner tapped down to Malcolm O'Kelly and Elsom then peeled away for a short burst to the try-line.

Contepomi failed to add the extras, leaving it 8-8, and he also pushed a penalty wide of the uprights on the half-hour after a thunderous tackle from Jamie Heaslip on Bernardo Stortoni.

Then Samoan speedster Fa'atau pounced for his try, brilliantly hacking a dropped Leinster pass on towards the line and winning the race to the ball. Jackson was off target with the conversion attempt.

Shortly afterwards, Stortoni was sin-binned for slowing up Leinster ball close to his posts and Gordon D'Arcy missed out on a try when he lost control of the ball just five metres out.

Some niggle crept into the game, with Glasgow captain Alastair Kellock and Leinster prop Stan Wright fortunate to stay on the field, and the Scots looked solid in defence despite losing their Argentinian full-back.

However, Leinster gradually found their rhythm in the third quarter.

Contepomi missed another penalty chance but they continually pinned back Glasgow in their half and the pressure eventually yielded tries.

After Brown and Heaslip were sin-binned for throwing punches, Leinster made use of the extra space and a quick turnover allowed Sexton send Horgan galloping over for his try.

Contepomi made it a seven-pointer, putting Leinster back in front, and four minutes later Girvan Dempsey pumped his legs out of a tackle and lovely hands from O'Driscoll put O'Brien charging over behind the posts.

After Contepomi's conversion, Glasgow had a third player sin-binned when replacement prop Justin Va'a was caught on the wrong side of a ruck.

With the visitors caught for defenders, Sexton gathered a swift delivery from Chris Whitaker to dive over to the right of the posts and O'Brien rumbled over from close range for his second try, six minutes from the end. Contepomi converted both to wrap up a runaway win.

The scorers:

For Leinster:

Tries: Elsom, Horgan, O'Brien 2, Sexton

Cons: Contepomi 4

Pen: Contepomi

For Glasgow:

Tries: Brown, Fa'atau

Pen: Jackson

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Isa Nacewa, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Felipe Contepomi , 9 Chris Whitaker, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Stan Wright, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Cian Healy. Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Ronan McCormack, 18 Leo Cullen, 19 Sean O'Brien, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Shane Horgan.

Glasgow: 15 Bernardo Stortoni, 14 Lome Fa'atau, 13 Max Evans, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Thom Evans, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 John Barclay, 6 Calum Forrester, 5 Alastair Kellock (capt), 4 Tim Barker, 3 Moray Low, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Kevin Tkachuk.

Replacements: 16 Fergus Thomson, 17 Justin Va'a, 18 Richie Gray, 19 James Eddie, 20 Colin Gregor, 21 Andrew Henderson, 22 Hefin O'Hare.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)

Touch judges: Colin Stanley (Ireland), Leo Colgan (Ireland)

Television match official: John Carvill (Ireland)

Assessor: Tom Aplin (Ireland)

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