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Leinster Rugby (8) 30 - (8) 3 Connacht Rugby
RDS Showground, Dublin
Saturday, 1st January 2011, 17:30

Television: Live: TG4

The new year saw coach Joe Schmidt look to the Leinster youth to do a job against an ever improving Connacht side. The large amount of youngsters on the field was complemented by a mere smattering of experience in the likes of Jennings and Nacewa, as the majority of men who took apart Ulster a week earlier earned a day off.

Connacht heaped on the pressure from the opening, Elwood's men playing hard, running rugby, cutting in at the Leinster defence from different angles and causing the defensive line to be tested. After twenty or so minutes of this barrage from the men in green it seemed as though Schmidt may have been a tad over eager to trust his younger players. But when Connacht walked away with only three points after an onslaught that seemed sure to produce seven, the tide began to turn.

David Kearney looks fit to begin stepping out of his brother Robs shadow at long last. It was his first try of the season and also the point at which Leinster really took the game by the scruff, a missed penalty from Nacewa was made up for with quick hands at the restart, a string of passes from Hines and Berne saw Kearney go over in the corner. Although Nacewa failed to convert, he added three a few minutes later when a Conway run lead to a penalty.

The home side were not to be outdone by the visitors on their patch, after the break Leinster quickly extended their lead with another Nacewa penalty. Following that Leinster ran from deep after Connacht failed to capitalize going forward and the excellent Strauss gave a pass to Kearney to see the young man over for his second try. Nacewa converted and it looked like game, set and match.

Moments later, it was all over. Fergus McFadden flew over the line and all of a sudden there was a bonus point on offer. McFaddens growing confidence and ability is surely making him a must for Declan Kidneys World Cup squad.

Around the 71st minute it was McFadden again, who, following a lovely piece of play from Leinster, delivered a chip over the Connacht defensive line, the ball fell nicely for Niall Morris, whose pace and power was simply too much to be stopped at such a short distance. McFadden added the extra two.

Connacht got a small slice of respect back at the death though, and probably deserved too after they broke free in their own half, put the passes together and eventually saw Eoin Griffin go over in the corner in what was a nicely worked move.

Leinster have shown that, once again, there is hope in the youth. Despite a shaky beginning the future stars proved that they can stand with the best of them.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
30 - 8
Connacht Rugby
Tries D. Kearney (22, 54),
McFadden (69),
Morris (72)

Griffin (79)
Conversions Nacewa,
McFadden


Penalties Nacewa (2)

Keatley

Teams Isa Nacewa 15 Troy Nathan
Andrew Conway
14 Eoin Griffin
Eoin O'Malley
13 Ian Keatley
Fergus McFadden
12 Keith Matthews (C)
Dave Kearney
11 Brian Tuohy
Shaun Berne
10 Miah Nikora
Paul O'Donohoe
9 Cillian Willis

Heinke van der Merwe 1 Brett Wilkinson
Richardt Strauss
2 Adrian Flavin
Clint
3 Jamie Hagan
Nathan Hines
4 Michael Swift
Devin Toner
5 Michael McCarthy
Kevin McLaughlin
6 Andrew Browne
Shane Jennings (C)
7 Johnny O'Connor
Sean O'Brien 8 Eoin McKeon

Replacements Tom Sexton (for Strauss, 67)
16 Dermot Murphy (for Flavin, 74)
Jack McGrath
17 Rodney Ah You (for Hagan, 50)
Mike Ross (for Newland, 41)
18 Dylan Rogers (for Wilkinson, 74)
Ed O'Donoghue (for O'Donoghue, 56)
19 Bernie Upton (for Swift, 61)
Stephen Keogh (for O'Brien, 13)
20 Mike McComish
Eoin Reddan (for O'Donohoe, 49)
21 Frank Murphy (for Willis, 56)
Ian Madigan (for Kearney, 71)
22 Niva Ta'auso (for Nikora, 61)
Niall Morris (for Nacewa, 62)
23 Fionn Carr (for Tuohy, 56)

Not Considered
due to Injury
Stan Wright,
Rob Kearney,
Luke Fitzgerald,
Paul Ryan

Ray Ofisa,
John Muldoon,
Ezra Taylor,
Tiernan O'Halloran,
Gavin Duffy,
Ronan Loughney
Officials Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan, Jude Quinn (both IRFU)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (IRFU)

by Patrick Fennelly, © 2011-01-04

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