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Leinster Rugby (20) 41 - 8 (3) Newport Gwent Dragons
Royal Dublin Showground
Att: 17,260
Saturday, 03 May 2008 - 18:00

Following Cardiff's win against Connacht on Friday night, Leinster went into this game knowing that they would have to do it themselves or at least clinch a bonus point in order to secure the Magners League title. There was a carnival atmosphere at the RDS, however it was tinged in the sadness that accompanied the departure of Keith Gleeson and Ollie le Roux, both of whom are off to sunnier climes.

If there were any nerves on display it didn't take long to settle them. Ollie le Roux's early score set the tone for the rest of the match. The Dragons were penalised at the breakdown close to their line and le Roux's quick tap caught the Dragon's defence napping as he bundled over the try line. Contepomi struck the conversion, but unusually for him was well off the mark.

Six minutes later and history repeated itself. Again the Dragons were penalised close to their line, and again le Roux took the penalty quickly and bulldozed through the heart of the Welsh region's defence. Anyone watching on TV would be forgiven for thinking that it was an action replay, especially as Contepomi repeated his earlier trick with the conversion.

Dragon's opened their account with a penalty but it was Leinster who scored again with a beautiful move. A sublime underarm pass from Brian O'Driscoll put Horgan through to do what he does best and finish the move by crossing the whitewash. This time Felipe Contepomi did convert and in adding a late penalty stretched Leinster's lead to 20 - 3 at half time.

Leinster knew that another try would secure a bonus point and with it the championship, and the expectant audience didn't have long to wait. With less than ten minutes on the clock Shane Jennings crossed over after Jonathan Sexton's excellent work in securing a turnover. With the bonus point secured the Leinster supporters were able to celebrate their first piece of silverware in six years.

The scoring wasn't over however there was still time for Chris Whitaker to finish off Jamie Heaslip's sixty yard dash and Leinster elicited memories of old with a try that flowed straight from their own try line to their opponents passing through seven pairs of hands and finished with aplomb by Cameron Jowitt.

Leinster appeared to have scored a seventh try when Brian O'Driscoll, turning back the clock burned a hole in the Dragon's defence. Although he appeared to ground the ball, the referee consulted the TMO and the replays showed that the ball squirmed from his grasp at the last minute.

However neither that not Dragon's last gasp consolation try could dampen the spirits of the players and supporters alike, and on an evening without tension or drama of any kind Leinster were crowned league champions.

Match Statistics

Leinster Rugby
Newport Gwent Dragons
Tries Ollie Le Roux (2)
Shane Horgan
Shane Jennings
Chris Whitaker
Cameron Jowitt
  Adam Black
Conversions Felipe Contepomi (4)    
Penalties Felipe Contepomi   Ceri Sweeney
Teams Girvan Dempsey 15 Jason Tovey
Shane Horgan 14 Gareth Wyatt
Brian O'Driscoll (C) 13 Paul Emerick
Felipe Contepomi 12 Gareth Maule
Rob Kearney 11 Richard Fussell
Jonathan Sexton 10 Ceri Sweeney
Chris Whitaker 9 Andy Williams

Ollie Le Roux 1 Adam Black
Bernard Jackman 2 Steve Jones
Stan Wright 3 Rhys Thomas
Trevor Hogan
4 Adam Jones
Malcolm O'Kelly 5 Peter Sidoli
Shane Jennings 6 Jamie Ringer
Keith Gleeson 7 Richard Parks
Jamie Heaslip 8 Michael Owen

Replacements Brian Blaney (for Jackman, 73) 16 Ben Daly (for S. Jones, 56)
Stephen Knoop (for Le Roux, 73) 17 Lee Harrison (for R. Thomas, 68)
Cameron Jowitt (for O'Kelly, 60) 18 Andrew Hall (for Ringer, 56)
Stephen Keogh (for Gleeson, 68) 19 Lewis Evans (for Sidoli, 56)
Chris Keane (for Whitaker, 70) 20 Richard Mustoe
Christian Warner (for Sexton, 60) 21 Phillip Dollman (for Emerick, 52)
Luke Fitzgerald (for Kearney, 60) 22 Wayne Evans (for Williams, 67)

Not considered
due to injury
Gordon D'Arcy
Leo Cullen

Officials Referee: Andy MacPherson (SRU)
Sub Referee: Simon McDowell (IRFU)
Touch Judge: Peter Roche (IRFU)
4th Official: Robert Doyle (ARLB)
5th Official: Kevin Beggs (ARLB)
TMO: Eanna O'Dowd (IRFU)

by Sarah Lennon, © 2008-05-06