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Leinster Rugby (15) 41 - 11 (11) London Wasps
Roytal Dublin Showgrounds

Att: 18,300
Saturday 18th October 2008, 17:30

The two winners from week one collided as Leinster welcomed London Wasps to the RDS. Billed in the media as the battle between O'Driscoll and Cipriani but in truth this was just one of the sub plots. The match also saw former Munster men on show for Wasps in Staunton and Reddan, the latter of whom was reportedly close to signing with Leinster in the summer. Leinster were looking to exact revenge for the drubbing they received at the hands of Wasps in the Quarter final stage two seasons ago.

If there were nerves, and they weren't on display, on the Leinster team they were quietened after a mere four minutes. Contepomi sent a grubber kick through and Kearney raced onto it and side - footed the ball. O'Driscoll first fumbled the ball and then managed to secure it and squirm into a try scoring position despite Staunton's desperate grab. The referee went upstairs presumably to check the grounding and for an offside. Both questions were answered in Leinster's favour, Contepomi adding the extras.

Cipriani opened Wasps account on ten minutes with a penalty, one of many awarded by the fussy Nigel Owens. But it was again O'Driscoll who lit up the RDS with another try of rare quality. First a chip over Eoin Reddan, then a fly kick over Staunton's head before a superb gather and the strength to get over the line despite the attentions of Tom Voyce. The try clearly delighted O'Driscoll who has been showing glimpses of his old form of late.

Leinster lost captain Leo Cullen shortly afterwards with a suspected broken collar bone, but Devin Toner who replaced him followed his impressive appearance in Edinburgh with another strong display. Leinster were winning the aerial battle too with Rob Kearney in particularly fine form under the highball, while the Wasps team continually misfielded kicks inviting pressure on themselves. Contepomi extended Leinster's lead to twelve points on the half hour with a penalty, Leinster's first kickable penalty, Vickery sinbinned in the process. Moments later Cipriani clawed it back to 9 with a penalty of his own.

The games controversial moment came just before half time with Stauntion crossing over for a Wasps try. Dempsey appeared to be covering his Wasps counterpart until Cipriani obstructed him leaving a path free for Staunton to cross over. Further viewing suggested that Jennings had pushed Cipriani but it wasn't immediately obvious whether the push was of sufficient force to cause the obstruction. Nevertheless the try stood and although Cipriani missed the conversion, Wasps had enjoyed a good spell while down to fourteen. Leinster went into half time with a mere four point lead to show for their dominance.

Leinster took another blow at the start of the second half with the news that O'Driscoll was not to reappear with a knee injury. Sexton instead took to the pitch with Contepomi switching to inside centre. Again Leinster were quick out of the blocks and got the early score through Luke Fitzgerald. Girvan Dempsey is playing like the Girvan of old and his excellent chip and chase into Wasps territory and his block down of the attempted clearance saw the ball turned over and spread wide courtesy of a deft Sexton pass to Fitzgerald, who had the easiest of tasks in finishing.

Leinster were in control and in no mood to let up and secured the bonus point just before the hour mark. Wasps struggled to clear their lines and with the Leinster attack closing as as Flutey tried to kick clear, but instead found only Contepomi, and the Argentine followed up his own block to score.

Leinster had a healthy lead and Wasps appeared to have no answers and it was to get worse for the Londoners. Leinster were still hungry for tries and Elsom bundled over following an excellent break from Jonathan Sexton. Leinster completed their scoring with a Rob Kearney try, though in truth it was Mal O'Kelly who made it with a surge towards the line. The big man just didn't have the legs to get there and Shane Horgan was held up short but Rob Kearney profited with an easy score.

Leinster were home and dry and took the opportunity to spring the rest of the bench and although Wasps threatened at the death, Leinster were in no mood to surrender the points and defended manfully even with fourteen men, with Toner seeing Yellow late on.

Match Statistics

Leinster Rugby
London Wasps
Tries O'Driscoll (2)
Conversions Contepomi (4)  
Penalties Contepomi   Cipriani (2)
Yellow Cards Toner   Vickery
Teams Girvan Dempsey 15 Jeremy Staunton
Shane Horgan
14 Paul Sackey
Luke Fitzgerald
13 Josh Lewsey
Brian O'Driscoll12 Riki Flutey
Robert Kearney
11 Tom Voyce
Felipe Contepomi
10 Danny Cipriani
Chris Whitaker
9 Eoin Reddan

Stan Wright
1 Tim Payne
Bernard Jackman 2 Raphael Ibanez (C)
CJ van der Linde
3 Phil Vickery
Leo Cullen (C)
4 Simon Shaw
Malcolm O'Kelly
5 Tom Palmer
Rocky Elsom
6 James Haskell
Shane Jennings
7 Tom Rees
Jamie Heaslip 8 Joe Worsley

Replacements John Fogarty (for Wright, 72)
16 Rob Webber (for Ibanez, 53)
Cian Healy (for van der Linde, 64)
17 Pat Barnard
Devin Toner (for Cullen, 13)
18 Richard Birkitt (for Shaw, 69)
Stephen Keogh (for O'Kelly, 72)
19 Serge Betsen (for Rees, 72)
Chris Keane (for whitaker, 74)
20 Mark Robinson (for Reddan, 68)
Jonathan Sexton (for O'Driscoll, HT)
21 Mark Van Gisbergen (for Staunton, 6$)
Gary Brown (for Fitzgerald, 68)
22 John Hart

Not considered
due to injury
Gordon D'Arcy (arm)
Isa Nacewa (arm)
Sean O'Brien


Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Neill Ballard (WRU), John Mason (WRU)
4th Official: John Carvill (ARLB)
5th Official: Barry O'Keeffe (ARLB)
TMO: Derek Bevan (WRU)

by Sarah Lennon, © 2008-10-20