Monday 20 November 2017

Kearns shines as Leinster overcome Australia


Leinster Schools players Fergal Cleary, James Ryan and Wil Connors celebrate after the final whistle.
Leinster Schools players Fergal Cleary, James Ryan and Wil Connors celebrate after the final whistle.

Leinster showed great resolve to turn an 11-point deficit into a 10-point victory at Donnybrook.

The Australians had already beaten Fiji 31-7, been beaten by New Zealand 17-16, Wales 26-12 and England 23-3 and got back to winning ways against Scotland 29-5 in Edinburgh last Friday.

They went behind to the boot of fly-half Sean Kearns in the 18th minute. It was then they came to life. Left-wing Adrian Henley's offload found flanker Douglas McMillan, who found fly-half Mitchell Third to touch down, his conversion making it 7-3.

Aussie lock Ned Hanigan went over next, the conversion making it 14-3 at the break.

A Kearns penalty got Leinster going again. He then cut inside it for a sizzling try which he converted in the 50th minute.

Leinster captain James Ryan was on hand to take the ball home for the real game-changer in the 53rd minute as Kearns' extras put them six points clear.

Australia replacement fly-half Andrew Deegan tightened it up with a penalty to make it a three-point game but the home side held their composure, with No 8 Nick Timoney going over and Kearns' conversion sealing it.

Leinster -- J Carbery (Blackrock); A Leavy (St Michael's), C O'Brien (St Finian's), F Cleary (Clongowes), C O'Donoghue (Clongowes); S Kearns (Blackrock), D Duggan (St Michael's); D Fitzpatrick (Blackrock), J Molony (Clongowes), N Mpiko (King's Hos), J Dwan (Blackrock), J Ryan (St Michael's, capt), W Connors (Clongowes), C Oliver (Blackrock), N Timoney (Blackrock). Reps: J Phelan (Newbridge, for Mpiko, ht); M Deegan (St Michael's, for Oliver 45); T Schmidt (Terenure, for Duggan 51); R Vallejo (Good Counsel New Ross, for O'Donoghue 65); C Joyce-Ahearne (CBS Wexford, for Dwan 66), A Roche (Terenure, for Molony 66).

Australia -- T Milne; J Todd, T Moeroa, K Morgan, A Henley; M Third, J Tuttle (capt); E Guttenbeil, T Tai, M Gibbon, L Cannell, N Hanigan, D Morris, D McMillan-Warren, R Vosayco. Reps: H Hutchinson (for Moeroa 30); A Mafi (for McMillan h-t), J Anderson (for Hanigan h-t); A Deegan (for Third 50), F Sa'aga (for Guttenbeil 50); J McCalman (for Warren-Vosayaco 57); M Sandell (for Gibbon 67), M Short (for Tuttle 67).

Ref -- S Gallagher (Leinster Branch).

Irish Independent

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