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Scarlets (10) 17 - 31 (23) Leinster Rugby
Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli

Att: 6,436
Saturday 21st January 2009

Victory for Leinster in the corresponding fixture last season between these two teams went a long way to helping Leinster secure the Magners League crown and a similar outcome in this match would see Leinster take to the summit of the league, albeit temporarily.

Leinster were able to send out a very strong team with Irish internationals in the guise of Girvan Dempsey, Shane Horgan, Shane Jennings, Gordon D'Arcy and Malcolm O'Kelly in the starting team.

Leinster started brightly with Contepomi scoring two penalties inside twenty minutes, while his corresponding number Rhys Priestland missing with an effort of his own. The night got better for Leinster when they scored two tries in four minutes. Cameron Jowitt was heavily involved in both, his surging run and pass helped D'Arcy send Isa Nacewa in for the first with the Fijian doing well to finish close to the posts. Jowitt was on hand to finish for Leinster's second after Girvan Dempsey had superbly charged down Priestland's attempted clearance. Contepomi added both conversions to give Leinster a whopping twenty point lead despite not having enjoyed the better of the game.

Scarlets were shell shocked and had an added blow in losing Regan King to a leg injury. The Welsh region needed to find a way back into the game and they managed to open their account just on half an hour with a Priestland kick. Scarlets struck again through a try by Martin Roberts to cut the gap to ten points.

Leinster had the final say in the first half however when Contepomi struck a penalty to continue his recent excellent form with the boot. Leinster went into half time with a very handsome thirteen point lead.

Scarlets emerged for the second half in a lively fashion. Priestland continued Scarlets policy of shooting on sight and when they were awarded two penalties shortly after half time he kicked both and missed both. It was telling that the next penalty kick Scarlets got went down the line and Leinster's posts weren't troubled by a penalty again.

Scarlets did however score a try on 53 minutes. Leinster had been defending manfully but the pressure eventually told when on 53 minutes Manu bundled over for a try which Priestland successfully converted. Suddenly the game was down to six point and Scarlets were putting the pressure on Leinster.

Leinster responded by putting together an excellent move. Off the back of a lineout Sexton and Horgan combined well and Sexton found Shane Jennings in support with a superb flat pass to send his captain through for a try scored in the corner. Contepomi missed the difficult conversion but did score a penalty shortly afterwards to crucially leave Scarlets three scores away from a win.

Contepomi's night took a turn for the worse when he was sinbinned close to the end for not rolling away, and though Scarlet's had a numerical advantage they could not capitalise. The closest they came was when Jonathan Davies dove over the line but the TMO correctly adjudged that he had a foot in touch before he did.

Leinster emerged from the match with an impressive win and after the recent drought three tries. Winning in Llanelli may becoming a bit of a habit.

Match Statistics
  Scarlets  Leinster Rugby
Tries Roberts
Conversions Priestland (2)
  Contepomi (2)
Penalties Priestland
  Contepomi (4)
Sin Bin
  Contepomi (70 - 80)

Teams Morgan Stoddart
15 Girvan Dempsey
Darren Daniel
14 Shane Horgan
Regan King
13 Fergus McFadden
Jon Davies
12 Gordon D'Arcy
Matthew Jacobs
11 Isa Nacewa
Rhys Priestland
10 Felipe Contepomi
Martin Roberts
9 Paul O'Donohue
Iestyn Thomas
1 Cian Healy
Ken Owens
2 Brian Blaney
Deacon Manu
3 Stan Wright
Lou Reed
4 Trevor Hogan
Dominic Day
5 Malcolm O'Kelly
Vernon Cooper
6 Cameron Jowitt
Simon Easterby (C)
7 Shane Jennings (C)
David Lyons
8 Rocky Elsom
Replacements Phil John (for I Thomas, 57)
16Bernard Jackman (for Blaney, 40)
Mahonri Schwalger (for Owen, 58)
17Ronan McCormack (for Wright, 74)
Josh Turnbull (for Day, 49)
18Devin Toner (for Hogan, 60)
Rob McCusker
19Stephen Keogh (for Jennings, 78)
Gavin Cattle
20Simon Keogh (for O'Donohue, 59)
Gavin Evans (for King, 19)
21Jonathan Sexton (for McFadden, 51)
Ceiron Thomas
22Gary Brown (for Jowitt, 73)
Not Considered
due to Injury

  Leo Cullen
CJ van der Linde
Sean O' Brien
Chris Keane
Officials Referee: Andy Macpherson (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Alpin (WRU), Ken Bowen (WRU)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (WRU)

by Sarah Lennon, © 2011-08-23