leinsterfans.com: Supporting Leinster Rugby
skip to content

Leinster 'A' (11) 30 - 7 (0) Currie
Donnybrook, Dublin
Sunday, 23 Jan 2011

On a calm and fresh Sunday, perfect conditions for rugby, the Leinster "Assassins" took on Currie from Edinburgh in the British and Irish cup. Leinster were looking to follow on from their dramatic win the week before against Worcester Warriors to stake a claim for the next round. Currie on the other hand were coming into the game in poor form in the competition only gaining a solitary point for their efforts.

As a respectable crowd gathered, including a number of Currie supporters who made the trip and a significant portion of the Leinster first team squad including Cian Healy and birthday boy Brian O'Driscoll, fresh from their heroics on the Friday night against Racing Metro 92, Leinster kicked off attacking the Wesley end.

Leinster, as has been a real feature this season competed for the kick off and duly won possession. Some hard rucking off some aggressive pick and go's yielded a penalty 30m out for offside. Ian McKinley slotted it over for a 3-0 start.

Leinster worked the ball from one side to the other stretching the Currie defence and created space for fullback Niall Morris to make a clean break on the left, but his pass to the support runner was well read and intercepted by the Currie fullback Tom Brown. The respite was short lived as the clearing kick was returned with interest by winger Andrew Conway and he put the afterburners on as he sprinted around the chasing line and dotted down in the right corner. The conversion was missed and the score remained 8-0 with 8 minutes on the clock.

The Leinster pack were clearly dominant and this was particularly evident in the scrum where tight head Simon Shawe gave his opponent a torrid time on both side's put-ins resulting in a number of penalties.

Currie slowly got into the game attacking wise, led in no small part by their elusive scrumhalf Richard Snedden. A number of snipes around the fringes with some quick footwork and slipping out of tackles gave Currie some good go-forward ball. Their pressure paid off with a penalty for an infringement at a ruck, but the opportunity was pushed to the left of the posts by centre Hayden Abercrombie on 16 minutes.

Both sides then contrived to miss certain try scoring chances, Leinster with a forward pass by Macken, and another forward pass by the Currie left winger butchered a well worked overlap. Leinster then robbed a Currie lineout on the Stand side near the halfway line and spread the ball wide to Dave Kearney to skin his man. When he was finally stopped, a Currie player was pinged for not rolling away. O'Donohoe took the quick tap and Leinster rumbled with intent towards the Currie line, who were forced into giving away a penalty in front of the posts. The referee, Ross Campbell chose leniency and didn't brandish a yellow. McKinley slotted the easy 3 points. Leinster 11-0 up on 27 mins.

The rest of the first half was played out with both sides trying to attack, but with Leinster giving away a succession of penalties, number 8 Leo Auva'a received his marching orders on 38 minutes for 10 minutes for not rolling away. Currie went to the corner but failed to take advantage and the half ended 11-0.

Leinster upped their intensity after the break and with only 7 in the pack they still marched Currie back at scrum time and could have added to their total. With Auva'a back on Leinster got that rare sight in modern rugby 'one against the head' and worked it wide for Conway to get his second in the right corner, skinning his opposite number in the process. Half time Sub Ian Madigan converted from out wide and it was 18-0 with 57 minutes gone.

Currie started to empty their bench as they visibly tired at this stage.

On 63 minutes a Leinster scrum on the Currie 10 metre line afforded centre Brendan Macken the chance to slice through a gap in midfield ignoring the temptation to pass to Conway to touch down himself in the right corner but the conversion was missed and it remained 23-0.

Soon after that score Leinster attacked from another scrum against the head with Kearney making the break again. When he was finally halted, Jordi Murphy took up the charge to the line. He was short but some quick recycling meant Jack McGrath could crash over close in for the all important bonus point. The conversion was successful by Madigan and the lead was stretched to 30-0 with 10 minutes left.

Currie finally came to life in the 73rd minute and put some serious pressure on the Leinster team with a succession of pick and go's around the fringes but couldn't bash a way through some Leinster tackling as they defended their own line. When they did spread it wide the right winger Tom Brown dropped the ball on the line. Leinster ran from the resulting scrum up to the Currie 22 but the attack was turned over and cleared.

Into the final Five minutes Currie earned a lineout deep in the Leinster 22 from a penalty. A clever call to the prop caught Leinster napping and two or three surges later the ball was given to the backs again. Surely they wouldn't muck this one up, and they didn't with their inside centre Alex Dunbar beating the cover to score. Abercrombie tagged on the conversion to give the good humoured travelling support something to cheer about. It was 30-7 and that was the end of the scoring.

Schmidt's philosophy of playing what's in front of you was clearly in evidence with some innovative play and offloading game with plenty of options for the ball carrier form the support runners.

The Scrum was a huge weapon destroying the Currie scrum even when down a man the entire front row including subs can be happy with their afternoons' work. The Line out ran well with Eoin Sherriff dominant throughout.

Pace and skills in the back line led to numerous clean line breaks with three of the tries scored by backs.

However a number of handling errors in the red zone let Currie off the hook on a number of occasions between knock on's and forward passes.

Leinster now top the group by three points from the Cornish Pirates and await other results to see if they will qualify for the latter stages of the competition.

Match Statistics

Leinster Rugby 'A'

Tries Conway (2),
Mc Grath

Conversions Madigan (2)

Penalties McKinlay (2)

Sin Bin Auva'a (38-48)

Teams Niall Morris
15 Johnny Smith
Andrew Conway
14 Adam Whitingham
Brendan Macken
13 Hayden Abercrombie
Eamonn Sheridan
12 Alex Dunbar
David Kearney
11 Tom Brown
Ian McKinley
10 Andrew Binikos
Paul O'Donohoe
9 Richard Snedden

Jack McGrath
1 John Cox
Aaron Dundon
2 Finlay Gillies
Simon Shawe
3 Alastair Hamilton
Eoin Sheriff
4 Ryan Wilson
Mariano Galarza
5 Gary Temple
Kevin McLaughlin (C)
6 Mark Kairns (C)
Jordi Murphy
7 Michael Entwhistle
Leo Auva'a
8 Ross Weston

Replacements Tom Sexton (for Dundon, 62)
16 Stu Simonsen
Stewart Maguire (for Shawe, 54)
17 Ross Merrilees
Ed O'Donoghue (for Galarza, 69)
18 Neil Scobie
Ciaran Ruddock (for Auva'a, 67)
19 Adam Best
John Cooney (for O'Donohoe, 64)
20 Matt Scott
Ian Madigan (for McKinley, HT)
21 Fraser Harkness
Michael Keating (for Kearney, 69)
22 Ian Dowhey

Officials Referee: Ross Campbell (FFR)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton, Stuart Douglas (both IRFU)
4th Official: Barry O'Keefe (LRR)

by David Harold, © 2011-01-25