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Leinster (10) 30 - 21 (21) Connacht
Donnybrook, Dublin
Att: 6,500
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon
Saturday 24th March 2007, 17:15

Leinster returned to Magners League duties and welcomed back all but Brian O'Driscoll from the 6 Nations squad. Following Ulster's loss to Munster the previous night Leinster knew that a win would see them extend a healthy lead atop the league with a game in hand.

Leinster were favourites going into the match, but it was Connacht that started the brighter and following a Paul Warwick penalty, hooker Adrian Flavin went over for a try following a Connacht maul. Warwick despatched the conversion and followed that with another penalty. Connacht were 13 points to the good in as many minutes and Leinster were stunned.

Leinster responded somewhat as Bernard Jackman, formerly of the visitors, crossed for a try. Connacht seized the initiative again however and Warwick added another penalty following Stan Wright's sin-binning. Warwick followed that by crossing the try line himself. Matt Lacey was sinbinned in first half injury time and Connacht went into the half time break with an 11 point lead, but knew they would start the second half with 14 men.

Leinster started brightly in the second half, but the Connacht defence was resolute and managed to keep their lead intact while a man down. Lacey's return however signalled the start of a Leinster scoring spree, with first Keith Gleeson crossing the whitewash following excellent handling from Whitaker and Contepomi. Shane Horgan was to follow Gleeson onto the score sheet shortly afterwards, with a try that echoed his recent score against England at Croke Park. Contepomi sent a cross field kick to the right wing and Horgan gathered the ball high and despite the attention of two Connacht players touched down to give Leinster the lead for the first time. Contepomi added the conversion and a further penalty to leave Connacht outside the bonus point range.

Leinster were pushing for a bonus point of their own, and thought they had secured it late on when Jamie Heaslip crossed over. The referee however had other ideas and disallowed the try adjudging that the ball had gone forward to Leinster's number 8. There was no further time to seek the elusive fourth try and Leinster had to settle for the 4 points, which in truth had seemed a long way off at half time.

Magners Man of the Match: Chris Keane
leinsterfans.com Man of the Match: Keith Gleeson

Match Stats
  Leinster Connacht
Tries Jackman
Conversions Contepomi (3) Warwick
Penalties Contepomi (3) Warwick (3)

15: Girvan Dempsey, 14: Shane Horgan, 13: Kieran Lewis, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, Felipe Contepomi, 11: Denis Hickie, 10: Felipe Contepomi (C), 9: Chris Whitaker

1: Stanley Wright, 2: Bernard Jackman, 3: Will Green, 4: Trevor Hogan, 5: Malcolm O'Kelly, 6: Stephen Keogh, 7: Keith Gleeson, 8: Jamie Heaslip

15: Gavin Duffy, 14: Darren Yapp, 13: Daniel Riordan, 12: Gavin Williams, 11: Conor McPhillips, 10: Paul Warwick, 9: Chris Keane

1: Brett Wilkinson, 2: Adrian Flavin, 3: Stephen Knoop, 4: David Gannon, 5: Andrew Farley (C), 6: John Muldoon, 7: Ray Ofisa, 8: Colm Rigney

Replacements Pala'amo for Keogh 18 mins (temporary replacement), O Finnegan for O'Kelly 55mins, B Blaney for Jackman, 55 Mins, G Easterby for Whittaker 65 mins, C Warner for Contepomi 75 mins. M Lacey for Muldoon 33 minutes, M Swift for Ofisa 55 mins, B Sturgess for Hogan 62 mins, J Fogarty for Flavin 64 mins, D Slemen for Duffy, M McHugh for Williams 75 mins.
Sin-Bin Wright (17) Lacey (40)

by Sarah Lennon, © 2007-03-27