Planet Rugby

Home semi-final for Leinster

03rd May 2013 21:39

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Jonny Sexton Leinster fly half 2012

15 points: Jonathan Sexton

Leinster recorded an impressive 37-19 win over the Ospreys on Friday, which ensured home field advantage against Glasgow in the PRO12 semi-finals.

The Welshmen could have sneaked into the play-offs with a win but they came up just short as the home side put in an impressive display and signalled their intent as they look to go one better than last year and take the RaboDirect PRO12 trophy back to Dublin.

They got off to the perfect start as hat-trick man Andrew Conway touched the ball down over the line after it had been hacked on and Ross Jones had made a bad error and let the ball roll between his legs.

And the right winger grabbed a second midway through the half as he popped up on the shoulder of Luke McGrath after the 20-year-old scrum-half had burst through a gap following a lineout.

The visitors got themselves back into the match on the half-hour mark though as Dan Biggar caught the Leinster defence napping by taking a penalty quickly and forcing his way past Quinn Roux and McGrath on his way over the line.

And they reduced the deficit to just two points late in the first half thanks to a try from Ben John, who bulldozed his way over in the right-hand corner after Tom Habberfield had made a good break down the left wing and Sam Lewis and Joe Bearman helped to spin the ball wide to the centre.

However, Jonny Sexton knocked over a penalty with the last act of the half as the clock ticked past 40 minutes to give the home side a bit more of a cushion at 17-12.

And the hosts pulled away early in the second half as Conway completed his hat-trick within moments of the restart by collecting a kick ahead and touching down.

The Ospreys did get a third try of their own in the final 10 minutes as Biggar and Ashley Beck shipped the ball wide to Tom Isaacs in acres of space and the replacement strolled in to score in the corner.

Sexton slotted over two more penalties during the course of the second half though and Cian Healy put the icing on the cake at the very end as he took advantage of a mix-up and got on the end of a Sexton kick ahead to send Leinster into the play-offs in good spirits.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Conway 3, Healy
Con: Sexton 3, Madigan
Pen: Sexton 3

For Ospreys:
Tries: Biggar, John, Isaacs
Con: Biggar 2

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Sean O'Brien, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 John Cooney, 22 Andrew Goodman, 23 Brian O'Driscoll.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Tom Habberfield, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Ben John, 11 Ross Jones, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Justin Tipuric, 5 James King, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Dmitri Arhip, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 Ian Evans, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Matthew Morgan, 22 Tom Isaacs, 23 Jonathan Spratt.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton, Stuart Gaffikin (both IRFU)
TMO: Alan Rogan (IRFU)

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