Planet Rugby

Connacht pipped by Leinster

27th March 2010 18:17

Share:

Fionn Carr for Ireland A

So close: Two tries Fionn Carr

A last-minute drop-goal from Ireland and Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton saw off a sprited Connacht 17-14 at the RDS on Saturday.

This was top versus bottom in the Magners League but Connacht really turned the tables on a much-fancied Leinster side, giving themselves every chance of recording their first victory in Dublin since 2002.

Winger Fionn Carr, a former Leinster Academy player, showed his home province what they are missing with two excellent tries in the opening 22 minutes.

Ireland and Lions star Rob Kearney touched down to close the gap to 14-8 at half-time, and Sexton won the battle of the out-halves in the second period by landing two penalties and the decisive 79th-minute drop goal.

It was cruel luck for Connacht for whom Ian Keatley missed two drop goal efforts and his fellow replacement Sean Cronin was inches away from scoring a try, with seven minutes remaining.

This inter-provincial derby was just 83 seconds old when Carr crashed over for his first try. Connacht's danger man, who has yet to feature for Ireland at Test level, caught Shaun Berne, Girvan Dempsey and Kearney all off guard as he cut in from the left and sprinted clear and under the posts.

New Zealander Miah Nikora added the conversion and although Connacht conceded a raft of penalties in the opening quarter, Leinster's sole reward was a fifth minute strike from Sexton.

The hosts' territorial dominance came to nothing and they were rocked again when Dempsey was robbed at a ruck and Carr linked with Nikora before gleefully dotting down to the left of the posts.

Nikora, with a considerable wind behind him, fired over a brilliant conversion to increase the pressure on Leinster who were missing the likes of Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Cian Healy and Jamie Heaslip.

Michael Cheika's men looked back on track, six minutes later, as Kearney dummied his way past Brian Tuohy and Aidan Wynne, just outside the visitors' 22, on the way to a well-taken try.

Sexton failed to convert and also pushed an injury-time penalty effort to the right of the posts, as Connacht held a six-point advantage at the break.

With Leo Cullen and his forward colleagues getting more of a grip on matters up front, Leinster reduced the arrears to three points thanks to Sexton - although the recent Six Nations debutant's radar was off in the 50th minute when he had a chance to level.

Drama followed as, with twelve minutes to go, Connacht lost full-back and captain for the day, Gavin Duffy, to the sin-bin for a punch, spotted by the touch judge. The television replay showed Duffy tangling with Fergus McFadden, but there was little or no evidence of a punch.

With the electric Carr continuing to threaten, Connacht looked like they might survive and a rousing breakaway almost had the perfect ending as Cronin sped towards the line. However, a desperate tackle from Dempsey felled the hooker, and Kearney got his arms under the ball to prevent the try.

Keatley then missed the easier of his two drop goal shots, from in front of the posts, and although Leinster scrum half Eoin Reddan did likewise at the other end, his half-back partner Sexton kept his nerve to coolly slot a 40-metre drop and dash Connacht's hopes at the death.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Kearney
Pen: Sexton 3
Drop: Sexton

For Connacht:
Tries: Carr 2
Con: Nikora 2

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Girvan Dempsey, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Stephen Keogh, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 John Fogarty, 1 Stan Wright.
Replacements: 16 Bernard Jackman, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Devin Toner, 19 Paul Ryan, 20 Paul O'Donohoe, 21 Eoin O'Malley, 22 Simon Keogh.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (capt), 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Aidan Wynne, 12 Keith Matthews, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Mike McComish, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jamie Hagan, 18 Michael Swift, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Conor O'Loughlin, 21 Ian Keatley, 22 Troy Nathan.

Referee: Jerome Garces (FFR)
Assistant Referees: S McDowell (IRFU), J Quinn (IRFU)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
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 Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
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
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
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
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province 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
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26