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.
19.45 – 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.
19.49 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
20.18 – 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.
20.27 – 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.
20.53 – 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.
20.53 – 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.
20.56 – 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.
21.02 – 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.
21.12 – 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.
21.22 – 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.