Planet Rugby

Leinster claim pole position

26th December 2009 19:54

Share:

Jamie Heaslip Leinster charge

Jamie Heaslip: Weighed in with a crucial try

Leinster maintained their position at the top of the Magners League on Boxing Day, courtesy of a gritty 15-3 win over Ulster at the RDS.

Tries either side of half-time from Rob Kearney and Jamie Heaslip set Leinster on their way to victoryin a fast-paced festive derby.

The European champions made it ten straight Magners League wins at their Dublin base, with the result moving them back to the top of the league table.

Ulster fielded an under-strength team, with Grand Slam winners Paddy Wallace, Tom Court and Stephen Ferris rested as part of the IRFU Player Management Programme, while Willie Faloon replaced late cry-off David Pollock at openside flanker.

Leinster, meanwhile, had most of their frontliners on show, with CJ van der Linde and Nathan Hines the only absentees from the team that comfortably beat the Scarlets last weekend in the Heineken Cup.

In a frenetic start, Ulster's debutant full-back Jamie Smith took two good early catches to settle his nerves and lock Dan Tuohy carried well for the visitors who were gunning for their first away win over Leinster in ten years.

Buoyed by their back-to-back European demolitions of the Scarlets, Leinster turned down their first kickable penalty in search of an early try but Ulster's aggressive defence kept them out and a straight-on penalty from Shaun Berne opened the scoring on ten minutes.

Berne's opposite number, Niall O'Connor, failed to punish Sean O'Brien for a stray boot at a ruck and Ulster blindside flanker Thomas Anderson received a harsh sin-binning after he was adjudged to have gone over the top of a ruck after a hack through from Isaac Boss.

But Ulster showed great resilience while a man down - they backed themselves in seven-man scrum situations - and the game continued at a high pace with midfield breaks from Stan Wright and Simon Danielli almost setting up tries.

Leinster replacement Mike Ross was pinged for a needless offside and O'Connor converted the resulting kick to briefly level the tie, only for man-of-the-match Kearney to break the try deadlock five minutes before the break.

Gordon D'Arcy made the score with a neat step and sweetly-delivered offload out of contact and Kearney raced onto the pass on the 22 to outstrip the cover and ease over under the posts. Berne's conversion made it 10-3 at half-time.

Ulster's defence slipped up again six minutes into the second half when Kearney battled to gather his own garryowen inside the visitors' half and deftly passed to the supporting Heaslip, who swatted Smith away with a powerful hand-off and galloped over to the left of the posts.

Berne failed to add the conversion and Leinster struggled thereafter to carve out further try-scoring opportunities. It was Ulster who looked more threatening in the closing half-hour and they really should have garnered a losing bonus point.

As Leinster fell off the boil, Ulster were in desperate need of some better execution. The best of their chances came in the dying minutes when Shiels raced into space, and had Danielli held his pass out to the left touchline, a try looked certain.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Kearney, Heaslip
Con: Berne
Pen: Berne

For Ulster:
Pen: O'Connor

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Shaun Berne, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Stan Wright, 2 John Fogarty, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Bernard Jackman, 17 Mike Ross, 18 Nathan Hines, 19 Stephen Keogh, 20 Paul O'Donohoe, 21 Fergus McFadden, 22 Girvan Dempsey.

Ulster: 15 Jamie Smith, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Simon Danelli, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Chris Henry (c), 7 TJ Anderson, 6 David Pollock, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Bryan Young.
Replacements: 16 Andy Kyriacou, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Ryan Caldwell, 19 Willie Faloon, 20 Cillian Willis, 21 Ian Humphreys, 22 Jonny Shiells.

Referee: George Clancy

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 1
Barbarians vs Australia14:30
USA vs New Zealand15:00
More International Match fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , November 1
Sale Sharks vs Wasps14:00
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Bath vs London Welsh15:00
London Irish vs Leicester15:00
Northampton vs Newcastle16:00
Sunday , November 2
Saracens vs Harlequins13:00
More LV= Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs EdinburghLeinster vs Edinburgh Preview
Glasgow vs Benetton TrevisoGlasgow vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Ospreys vs ConnachtOspreys vs Connacht Preview
Saturday , November 1
Cardiff Blues vs Munster17:15
Scarlets vs Zebre18:00
Ulster vs Newport Gwent D'gons19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 1
Lyon vs Toulouse13:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
La Rochelle vs Montpellier18:30
Brive vs Castres18:30
Bayonne vs Clermont Auvergne20:45
Sunday , November 2
Toulon vs Grenoble13:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Castres 16 - 21 LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Report
Clermont Auvergne 35 - 3 Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Report
Benetton Treviso 10 - 26 Racing Metro 92
Wasps 16 - 23 HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Report
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615