Sport Rugby

Monday 19 March 2018

Cool Gopperth holds nerve to push Leinster into third spot

Treviso 20 Leinster 21

Ian Bransfield

WhilE not quite as nail-biting as events in Dublin, there was also drama in Treviso where Leinster needed a late penalty by Jimmy Gopperth to get out of jail.

With the clock winding down and Treviso 20-18 ahead following a rollercoaster 73 minutes, Matt O'Connor's men looked to be staring down the barrel as Treviso came on strong in the final quarter.

However, New-Zealand born Gopperth held his nerve when it mattered most, and though Treviso threw the kitchen sink at Leinster, the visitors did just enough to hold on for a win that on the balance of play, they probably deserved.

"The guys have trained incredibly hard over the last number of weeks and it's a fantastic result for the squad as a whole," said O'Connor, clearly relieved, afterwards.

"We've come through this international period of November with two away wins and we're pretty happy with that."

Leinster's 12-10 half-time advantage was scant reward for their positive approach. They took their foot off the gas for a short spell following two tries within three minutes, allowing Treviso back into the match.


The first try came courtesy of Lote Tuqiri, who used all of his strength and experience tight on the touchline to squeeze over.

Gopperth missed the conversion but was called back into action two minutes later when Noel Reid cleverly sidestepped the Treviso covering defence to dot down for try number two, and this time the New Zealander made no mistake.

Leinster momentarily invited Treviso back into the game. First, Matt Berquist cracked over a penalty before Ludovico Nitoglia took advantage of some weak defending on his way to the line. Berquist converted.

Into the second half, and Leinster dictated the terms without making it count.

Gopperth knocked over another two penalties following more pressure.

The arrival of Zane Kirchner, Eoin Reddan and Jordi Murphy at the 50-minute mark seemed to give Leinster a bit more zip.

Emboldened by their resistance, Treviso winger Angelo Esposito finished off a breakaway try.

Berquist's touchline conversion, coupled with an earlier penalty, edged Treviso in front for the first time, but up stepped Gopperth to save the day, his calm strike taking Leinster into third place.

Treviso – B Williams; L Nitoglia, A Pratichetti, C Loamanu (A Sgarbi 49), A Esposito; M Berquist (A Di Bernardo 75), F Semenzato (J Ambrosini 22); A De Marchi (M Muccignat 75), F Sbaraglini (E Ceccato 49), I Fernandez-Rouyet (P Di Santo 75); M Fuser (A Pavanello 49, Giusti, 64), C Van Zyl (capt); M Vosawai, D Budd, M Filippucci.

Leinster – D Hudson (Z Kirchner 46); D Fanning, B Macken, N Reid, L Tuqiri; J Gopperth, J Cooney (E Reddan 46); M Bent, A Dundon, M Moore (T Furlong 75); T Denton, Q Roux (B Marshall 75); D Ryan, R Ruddock (capt), L Auva'a (J Murphy 55).

Ref – N Paterson (SRU)

Irish Independent

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