Monday 19 August 2019

Leinster survive late surge

Rotherham Titans 9 Leinster 'A' 12

Billy Dardis, Leinster A, is tackled by Sean Scanlon and Max Argyle, Rotherham Titans
Billy Dardis, Leinster A, is tackled by Sean Scanlon and Max Argyle, Rotherham Titans
Tadhg Beirne, Leinster A, collects a lineout throw
Dan Leavy, Leinster A, is tackled by Ross Jones Davies, Rotherham Titans Newsdesk Newsdesk

Top-class defending, as much as accurate goal-kicking, enabled the 2013 and 2014 champions to start the new B & I Cup campaign positively at Clifton Lane, where they overcame, but only just, a highly competitive Rotherham side.

Leinster were leading by only three points in added-time as Rotherham's forwards launched several attacks, but solid tackling and a well-organised defence prevented the Yorkshiremen from breaking through.

Earlier, Leinster, leading 9-6 at the interval following penalties by fly-half Ross Byrne, and two from centre Steve Crosbie in Byrne's absence because of a yellow card, grabbed a slender advantage on 72 minutes.

The Leinster pack drove up the field to put Byrne into a good position to drop a goal, which he did with style and precision, but while his skill provided a lead of 12-9, it still had to be defended as Rotherham fought back with great determination.

In an exciting climax to an entertaining game, Leinster were pinned deep in their 22;however the pack, typified by the efforts of lock Tadhg Beirne, would not be beaten.

"To start with a win is brilliant. We expected a physical battle and knew it was going to be tight," said coach Hugh Hogan.

Leinster's next opponents are Moseley at Donnybrook on Friday.

Rotherham Titans - Scanlon; Keating, Hayes, Barker, Wilson; Jones (McKinney 64), Davies (Carter 73); Hislop (Cromie 73), Maddison (Preece 40), Tampin (Thiede 52);Holmes, Oram (Salmon 63); Gilmour, Birch, Argyle.

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Leinster A - Dardis; Fanning, Farrell, Crosbie, McGrath; Byrne, Rock; Dooley,Byrne, Burke-Flynn (Bent 45); Beirne, Thornbury (Molony 45); Timmins, Leavy, Ryan (Murphy 65).

Ref - R Thomas (Wales).

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