Sport Rugby

Saturday 25 November 2017

Madigan steers Leinster home

Leinster 22 Glasgow 17

DECLAN ROONEY

Ian Madigan showed Leinster fans they have little to worry about after Jonny Sexton's departure as he single-handedly carried his side to the summit of the Pro12 standings.

Ian Madigan showed Leinster fans they have little to worry about after Jonny Sexton's departure as he single-handedly carried his side to the summit of the Pro12 standings.

Leinster leaped to the top of the table, a point ahead of Warriors and Ulster, but they left it late at the RDS as Madigan's try seven minutes from time clinched the win for Joe Schmidt's side. With 10 minutes to go the fly-half could have put Sean Cronin in in the corner with a risky looped pass, but instead he opted to retain the ball.

And three minutes later that decision proved the right one when he broke through to touch down and convert his own try to give Leinster the win. Leinster, who remain undefeated at the RDS in league action this season after last night's win, now face into next week's tie with Ulster on a high and a roll of seven games unbeaten.

After the concession of a couple of early penalties that saw Leinster carry out an unsuccessful raid into Warriors territory, Gregor Townsend's men soon found their bearings and with Nikola Matawalu looking extremely dangerous around the fringes, they worked their way through the phases and into Leinster's half.

A chip through from hooker Doug Hall forced Isa Nacewa into the concession of a lineout on his own line, and after they secured possession Matawalu and Josh Strauss combined to send Ed Kalman in for his first try in seven seasons. Duncan Weir added the extras to give Warriors a 7-0 lead, but Leinster had reduced that deficit by the 13th minute after a penalty for offside was made easier for Madigan because of dissent. Weir and Madigan exchanged penalties midway through the half to leave Glasgow with a 10-6 lead, but, shortly after the half-hour mark, Warriors ran in their second try. DTH van der Merwe did well to stay in touch after Weir put him through a gap in the Leinster line, and after cutting back in to open field, his inside pass sent Peter Horne in for a simple finish.

Townsend would have been thrilled to bring his side into the dressing room with that 17-6 lead but, in the closing four minutes of the half, Madigan added two more penalties for the home side – the second earned after a scything run from deep from Andrew Conway – to leave it 17-12 at half-time.

With the wind at their backs, Glasgow hardly kicked the ball in the opening 40 minutes, instead opting to utilise the likes of Strauss and skipper Al Kellock in big carries.

After the third quarter was spent deep in Leinster territory, the home side managed to creep their way back up field, thanks mainly to a great Sean Cronin break.

Just as it seemed that the hosts might turn the screw, they coughed up possession once again when Cronin knocked on deep in enemy territory. But in the end Leinster retained their unbeaten home record and clinched top spot along the way.

Scorers – Leinster: I Madigan try, 5 pens, 1 con. Glasgow Warriors: E Kalman, P Horne tries; D Weir 1 pen, 2 cons.

Leinster: I Nacewa; D Kearney, E O'Malley, G D'Arcy, A Conway; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe (J McGrath 61), S Cronin, M Bent (J Hagan 47); L Cullen, Q Roux (D Toner 50); K McLaughlin (D Ryan 61), S Jennings, J Murphy (A Dundon 78).

Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; T Seymour (S Lamont 56), A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH Van der Merwe; D Weir, N Matawalu (H Pyrgos 62); M Low (J Welsh 50), D Hall (P MacArthur 62), E Kalman (G Reid 62); T Ryder, A Kellock; R Harley (R Wilson 50), J Barclay, J Strauss (J Eddie 75).

Referee: N Owens (WRU)

Irish Independent

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