Leinster will have been licking their lips as the sun shone on the RDS all day, but as night falls, can they keep the dream of a double alive by beating Sean Lineen’s strong side?
Leinster 19 – 15 Glasgow Warriors
19.03 – Good evening all. We hope you’ve had a grand lazy Saturday so far because it’s all about to get ramped up a notch or two.
Glasgow are in Dublin looking to continue their great league form this season, while Leinster are three games away from greatness and just trying to keep up the standard that has pushed them into the Heineken Cup final.
Kick off is still over 20 minutes away so familiarise yourself with the teams and have a read of out match preview.
LEINSTER : I Nacewa; F McFadden; E OMalley, G DArcy, D Kearney; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, B Thorn, D Toner, S O’Brien, S Jennings, J Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: S Cronin, H van der Merwe, N White, L Cullen, K McLaughlin, I Boss, I Madigan, A Conway.
GLASGOW: Stuart Hogg; F Aramburu, A Dunbar, G Morrison, DTH van der Merwe; D Weir, C Cusiter; R Grant, P MacArthur, M Cusack, R Gray, A Kellock (capt), R Harley, C Fusaro, J Barclay.
Replacements: D Hall, J Welsh, M Low, T Ryder, H Pyrgos, J Beattie, R Jackson, P Murchie.
Referee: George Clancy.
19.28 – The Simmonscourt end is still bathed in sunshine at the RDS. Perfect conditions for Leinster if they get an opportunity to cut loose.
Just 10 minutes left until kick-off and the Blues’ first XV are going through their final warm up tackles. The Warriors are already gone back into the sanctity of the dressing room. The often sparse media deck in the the RDS is at bulging point we’re having to tuck in our elbows as some of the more (ahem) burly celtic journos get settled.
19.33 – Noticing a distinct lack of predictions in the comment section. In the words of Delia Smith: ‘Come on! Let’s be ‘avin you!’
I reckon Leinster will concede less than 14 points and clock up about 30. What say you?
19.35 – Glasgow are on the field, decked out in resplendent all-white, but the blue flags are soon flying as Jamie Heaslip leads out the home side.
Yes, the Laighin pit is ready for action.
19.37 – Minutes’ silence now for Paddy Madigan. RIP
19.38 – An impeccably observed silence and we are ready for kick off with George Clancy’s whistle. Duncan Weir kicks directly to Brad Thorn.
19.45 – Both sides have started well, but the promising sign from the hosts is a perfectly executed first line-out.
It’s an aspect they’ve sought to improve this week and with Gray and Kellock lurking, seeing Heaslip rise high at the back of the set-piece to set a move in action will be hugely satisfying for Jono Gibbes. As I write, Devin Toner has claimed a second one (this time at the front) , and two phases later Chris Fusaro is penalised and Jonny Sexton will have a 50M+ shot at goal.
19.46 – PENALTY! (Sexton) Leinster 3- 0 Glasgow
The fly-half makes that look criminally easy from the angle on the half way line. It sailed over with metres to spare.
19.49 – Nice work from Richie Gray gives Weir the chance to level scores from 35 meters, straight in front of the posts.
PENALTY: (Weir) Leinster 3- 3 Glasgow
The young Scot shows no sign of nerves and smashes the penalty (tricky if you’re feeling the heat) high over the bar.
20.00 – 16 mins
Bit of a stoppage here as DTH Van Der Merwe gets treatment. While he was down, his 14 teammates continued to press without him, but at the behest of the crowd were penalised for holding on on the left side of the 22. Sexton’s penalty brought Leinster into the attack.
19.53 – 10 mins
Isa Nacewa is still a stunning rugby player to be hold when running from fullback. Following a scrum on the Leinster 22, he took a pop-pass from Jamie Heaslip and released Dave Kearney down the right.
Kearney attempted to link back with the Kiwi/Fijian but Clancy adjudged the offload forward. Looked harsh from where we’re sitting.
19.57 – Most Leinster fans are decked out in their replica gear. Jerseys, jackets… not this fella.
20.02 – In the Glasgow 22, Leinster exert the first real pressure upon the visitors. They rumbled from right to left, but the white shirts are primed for battle and will not give up the line easily. Richardt Strauss is penalised for holding on, inches from the line.
20.06 – 22 mins PENALTY: (Sexton) Leinster 6 -3 Glasgow
…And it is. But from the restart Eoin Reddan’s kick from hand is nowhere near as pretty. Out on the full by 10 meters or so.
Pat MacArthur’s throw is not straight and we’re packing down again.
20.04 – 19 mins
Scrum Leinster and Ryan Grant is penalised for going straight down under Mike Ross. Should be an easy one here for J Sex….
20.11 – SIN BIN: Alex Dunbar (27 mins)
Pressure was building on the visitors after Leinster took on a five-metre line-out. With Aramburu frantically appealing for more cover on his right wing Dunbar came in from the side and was punished.
Leinster take the scrum and have already drawn a penalty, we’re still with the eight-man shove.
20.15 – 30 mins
Proving to be a dogfight this, (to force an analogy) Leinster have the tools locked in the right place, but just can’t get the screw turning.
20.13 – 29 mins
A set move on the blindside almost ends in disaster for the hosts. Sexton attempting a risky pass. Aramburu got a hand to it, and was almost clean away down the field. But he knocked on and he is slapping the ball, disgusted with himself.
20.18 – 32 mins. Leinster 6 – 3 Glasgow Warriors
The attack goes on regardless of DIY paraphernalia. The Blues continue to hammer at the line, but cannot creep over. It looked a certainty when Madigan (on as a blood sub for D’Arcy) had a two-on-one overlap outside him, but he tried a skip pass to Kearney and that slowed the move down allowing Aramburu to force the play back inside.
Glasgow clear to safety, this is a mountainous effort from them so far.
20.20 – 35 mins. PENALTY! (Sexton) Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
The hosts came roaring back from half way and Fusaro was the man pinged again, dragging Reddan away from the ruck. 35 meters out is a formality for Sexton.
20.27 – HALF TIME: Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
Glasgow can breath a sigh of relief to be going in with their tryline still in tact. Leinster will be frustrated, but must be content to be leading. This is knockout rugby after all.
20.38 – Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
The second half has just kicked off here at the RDS and Glasgow are enjoying a rare spell in opposition territory, but it comes to nout as grant ins whistled for holding on.
20.44 – 46 mins Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
Superb work from Fusaro forces a penalty on halfway, Weir proves he can give the ball legs, but from 55 metres on the angle, it drifts right of the posts.
20.48 – 48 mins Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
The last miss was understandable, but this one is unforgivable from Weir. The visitors have enjoyed the best of this second half, so far, but have no points to show for it after Weir’s 35 metre shot again misses the target.
While he was waiting to kick, Eoin O’Malley was helped from the field, his calf injury looks to have flared up again Andrew Conway is on in his place. Heinke Van Der Merwe is also on in place of Cian Healy
20.53 – 51 mins Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
The crowd are pushing their side. on, cries of”Leinster’ rains down from the stand. The home side haven’t gotten out of their own half yet this half.
The back-line is disrupted now with Madigan playing centre alongside McFadden. Testing times.
20.53 – 54 mins Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
Rousing stuff from Jamie Heaslip, he finds a hole in the white wall on half way and sprints 25 yards past it. He cannot get a pass away, however, and turns the ball over in contact. Kevin McLaughlin is on in place of Sean O’Brien. It’s been another quiet evening for the Tullow Tank.
20.56 – 56 mins Leinster 9 – 3 Glasgow
The goal-kicking yips have passed to the other number 10, if Weir was to be criticised for missing his shot then it should go double for Leinster. Straight in front of the posts, 30 metres out and he smashes it left and wide. Still no score in this second half and the Warriors will be enjoying how this third quarter is unfolding.
21.04 – 64 mins Leinster 12- 3 Glasgow
John Barclay is public enemy number one in Ballsbridge, he goes in high and hard on Ian Madigan, the young stand-off look fairly woozy after that one, but rather than be rattled Leinster look like they are rising to meet the challenge and things are getting feisty as we reach the game’s business end.
21.02 – PENALTY (Sexton) 62 mins Leinster 12 – 3 Glasgow
Ali Kellock is whistled by Clancy for coming in on the side.
Sexton from the 10 metre line this time makes no mistake. He’s back in the groove and Leinster have a two-score lead.
21.05 – TRY: 66 mins (Kearney) Leinster 19 – 3 Glasgow
A superb break on the 22 from Nacewa slices open the white blanket defence and with two men outside him, he picks Kearney the speedster to touch down with style in the corner.
Sexton has converted the score with a glorious kick from the left-hand touchline.
21.12 – 71 mins Leinster 19 – 3 Glasgow
That was just what Dr. Schmidt ordered, the hosts really look like they are enjoying themselves now and after a favourable bounce Kearney came close to setting up McFadden for the second scoreline in a minute.
A phase later, a cross-field kick from Sexton found Conway, the young winger side-stepped brilliantly,and touched down… but the play was brought back as the winger was deemed to be ahead of the kicker.
21.16 – TRY (Hall) 76 mins Leinster 19 – 8 Glasgow
Finally some reward for the Warriors’ endeavour. They push for a series of scrums on the Leinster five and eventually roll out on the blind-side. Dougie Hall crosses in the corner, a quick check with the TMO finds no problem whatsoever and the visitors have their second score of the night. weir misses a tough conversion.
21.22 – 79 mins Leinster 19 – 8 Glasgow
Getting a bit scrappy as here as the visitors push for a consolation score. A b it of a scrap breaks out as the Leinster take offence at having to defend for so much of this second half.
21.24 – TRY 80 MINS (Hogg) Leinster 19 – 15 Glasgow
Just as Sexton is named man of the match, Glasgow nudge past them on the try-count, but not on the score-sheet. Stuart Hogg scampered onto a grubber kick, the four point gap a much fairer reflection than the the 19-3 we were faced with just a few minutes ago.
21.28 – FULL TIME: Leinster 19 – 15 Glasgow
There you have it folks, Leinster overcome a dogged Glasgow Warriors and advance to the first ever Pro12 final, back here at the RDS.
In many ways it was the perfect preparation for Leinster ahead of meeting Ulster in Twickenham, but the injury count will have plenty worried before they cross to the English capital.
Eoin O’Malley, Gordon D’Arcy, Cian Healy and Dave kearney all appeared to take knocks before leaving the field.
We’ll bring you news of their fitness as soon as we get it.
21.29 – That’s it from the Liveblog, if you’re a Leinster fan you’ll be happy to know the double is still on.
Good night from me.