Leinster shrug off Blues challenge

Date published: September 12 2015

Leinster bounced back from last week's opening round defeat as they came from behind to defeat Cardiff Blues 23-15 at the RDS in Dublin on Saturday.

Jack Conan scored the only try of the first 70 minutes, in a match that was dominated by both sides' kickers.

Rhys Patchell and Isa Nacewa exchanged kicks at goal for much of this game, before a penalty try was awarded to Leinster as they clinched the win. 

Three minutes in and Cardiff Blues went three points in front via the accurate boot of Patchell, and he doubled that advantage from inside his own half to put Blues 0-6 up after a convincing start away from home. 

Nacewa halved that scoreline through a penalty of his own, after he had earlier hit the post with one. The kick brought up a landmark 400th point in a Leinster shirt, and soon after he would add two more points to that tally. 

After the intervention of the TMO, he deemed that Conan had managed to ground the ball after uncertainty, as the hosts grabbed their first try of the campaign just over 15 minutes in. 

Both sides had opportunities to get more points on the board in the first half, with Patchell kicking into the corner on a number of occasions in an attempt to see his side go over, though they were met by a stern Leinster backline unwilling to concede. 

Nacewa had an opportunity to put Leinster a converted try ahead, but was unable to put his penalty through the posts half an hour in. 

Patchell made him pay for that miss when given the next opportunity in a battle of the kickers, easily sending a penalty over from halfway to ensure that there was just a point separating the two sides at the break. 

The second half was much of the same with Patchell and Nacewa exchanging blows, the latter the first to open the scoring after the break. His penalty came inside the Cardiff Blues 22, but Patchell was again on his tail with a penalty ten minutes after the break again cutting the gap to just one. 

And then the boot of the Wales international kicked the Blues into the lead for the first time in 45 minutes. But again Nacewa was on hand to send another perfect kick through as both sides exchanged the lead. 

Leinster almost went over for a crucial second try, but the referee decided that they were held up after crossing the line and brought play back for a scrum. 

Josh Navidi was issued a yellow card approaching the final ten minutes after coming in at the side, giving Leinster a huge opportunity to increase the gap. And that they did in the form of a penalty try. 

The hosts kept up some serious momentum and eventually the referee had no option to award the try, with Nacewa adding the extras to seal the result.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Conan, Penalty
Cons: Nacewa 2
Pens: Nacewa 3

For Cardiff Blues:
Pen: Patchell 5
Yellow card: Navidi

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Garry Ringrose, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Cathal Marsh, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Aaron Dundon, 1 Michael Bent.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Royce Burke-Flynn, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Daniel Leavy, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Cian Kelleher.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Owen Jenkins, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Manoa Vosawai, 7 Josh Navidi (c), 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 James Down, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Garyn Smith.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Eddie Hogan-O'Connell (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
Television match official: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)