Leinster see off the Dragons fightback

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:35
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Second-half tries from Aaron Dundon and Noel Reid handed reigning Pro12 champions Leinster a 23-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.

Second-half tries from Aaron Dundon and Noel Reid handed reigning Pro12 champions Leinster a 23-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.

It was Leinster's four successive win in all competitions.

* In the other Friday match a second-half try from Cornell du Preez was enough to hand Edinburgh a nail-biting 25-23 victory over the Zebre, who again fell just short of their second ever Pro12 win.

We look at Friday's matches!

Edinburgh 25-23 Zebre

A second-half try from Cornell du Preez was enough to hand Edinburgh a nail-biting 25-23 victory over the Zebre, who again fell just short of their second ever Pro12 win.

Edinburgh made it back to back Pro12 wins at Murrayfield, having defeated Treviso last time out, but they were pushed all the way by a determined Zebre side.

Last week it was Rhys Priestland's last-gasp penalty that denied Zebre the win and this time it proved to be du Preez's score, and Harry Leonard's boot, ensuring their only Pro12 triumph remains the win over Cardiff Blues earlier this season.

Edinburgh had the first opportunity to open the scoring on eight minutes after they were awarded a penalty from a scrum but Leonard was off target with the penalty.

Zebre responded and Edinburgh needed a covering tackle from full-back Greig Tonks to deny the Italians the first try of the game on ten minutes.

The visitors kept coming however and they scored the first points of the match on 17 minutes when Luciano Orquera nailed a penalty after indiscipline from Edinburgh at the breakdown.

The lead lasted just three minutes however as Edinburgh winger Dougie Fife made a fine break before finding Tonks, who went over for this second try in as many matches in the corner.

Leonard missed the conversion but midway through the first half Edinburgh extended their lead to 10-3 when WP Nel repeated Tonks' feat by scoring his second try in as many weeks, burrowing over from close range.

This time Leonard was on target with the conversion but three minutes later, Zebre were right back in it thanks to Tommaso Iannone, who squeezed through a gap in the Edinburgh defence to dot down.

Orquera couldn't convert but Zebre weren't finished and after attacking Edinburgh out wide, the visitors had the numbers to put winger Leonardo Sarto away in the corner.

And Orquera bisected the posts with his conversion to hand Zebre a 17-12 advantage at the break.

Edinburgh rallied straight away in the second half and won a penalty at the breakdown - duly converted by Leonard to trim the gap to just two.

Zebre hit back however and only some desperate defence from Edinburgh denied the visitors their third try of the evening.

And Edinburgh made them pay on 56 minutes after some sterling work from their forwards sparked a driving maul before the ball found its way to back rower du Preez, who forced his way over the whitewash. Leonard added the extras to give the hosts a 22-17 lead.

Edinburgh grew in confidence and gave themselves a cushion with another penalty on 63 minutes with several Zebre players offside, Leonard again making no mistake from the tee.

Zebre refused to lie down however and three minutes later they found themselves back within touching distance after another Orquera penalty made it 25-20 and with six minutes on the clock, they trailed by just two, the Italian fly-half adding another three-pointer.

Zebre pressed for the win but they could not fashion the chance to add another penalty or drop goal as Edinburgh clung on for the victory.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries:
Tonks, Nel, Du Preez
Cons: Leonard 2
Pens: Leonard 2

For Zebre:
Tries:
Iannone, Sarto
Cons: Orquera 2
Pens: Orquera 3

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greg Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Joaquin Dominguez, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Jack Cuthbert, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Roddy Grant (captain), 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Izak van der Westuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Wiccus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Al Dickinson, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Ross Rennie, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Sam Beard, 23 Lee Jones.

Zebre: 15 Dion Berryman, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Tommaso Iannone, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Emiliano Caffini, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Quentin Geldenhuys, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzoni, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Luciano Leibson, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 David Ryan, 19 Michael van Vuren, 20 Andrea Manici, 21 David Odiete, 23 Giulio Toniolatti.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Bob Nevins (Scotland)

Newport Gwent Dragons 18-23 Leinster

Second-half tries from Aaron Dundon and Noel Reid handed reigning Pro12 champions Leinster a 23-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons - their four successive win in all competitions.

The Dragons, who had not last at Rodney Parade since March, were 10-6 ahead at the break after Ross Wardle crossed in the first period.

But the Irish outfit fought back after Adam Jones was sin-binned midway through the second half for the Dragons with Dundon and Reid making him pay.

The signs were ominous for the Dragons early on, especially in the scrum, despite Leinster's lack of personnel - 17 of their players were away on international duty.

A crooked feed from John Cooney, though, halted the visitors' progress before Jimmy Gopperth sent a simple penalty wide on ten minutes.

The New Zealander made no mistake three minutes later. This time he was even closer to the posts and he comfortably sailed his kick through.

Leinster enjoyed the majority of the territory but from their first attack the Dragons emerged with three points - Tom Prydie firing a penalty over from fully 50 yards.

It ignited a bit of a surge from the hosts - they spent the next five minutes camped in Leinster's half but nothing came and Gopperth could have regained the lead for the Irish side had his drop goal been more accurate.

A minute later it was Gopperth in the thick of the action again. From Reid's offload the fly-half made his way towards the corner and touched down - but Reid was ruled to have put his foot into touch.

It was to prove costly on 32 minutes when the Dragons swept from halfway to the corner themselves, Wardle the man who added to his try tally.

An excellent move started with Richie Rees, he found Pat Leach who in turn spotted Hallam Amos bursting from deep.

Prydie was the spare man and he fed Wardle to give the Dragons the lead - Jason Tovey added the extras.

Prydie was wide with his next penalty before Gopperth reduced Leinster's arrears with the last kick of the first half.

Tovey regained the Dragons' seven-point advantage with a 43rd-minute penalty, but Gopperth got the visitors back within four on 50 minutes.

And the hosts saw Jones sin-binned moments later for taking out the lifter, Rhys Ruddock, from the lineout - which proved to be the game's decisive moment.

It came back to haunt them as Dundon forced his way over despite Wardle's best efforts, with Gopperth making it 16-13 to Leinster.

The lead was then stretched to ten points on 62 minutes. A great run from Zane Kirchner opened up the depleted Dragons ranks and Reid was the grateful recipient of his pass. Gopperth made no mistake with the conversion.

With ten minutes remaining Tovey got the hosts, now back to the full complement of 15, back to within a converted try with his second penalty of the evening.

The tide appeared to be turning as Jack O'Connell was then sin-binned for the visitors and Tovey added another three-pointer.

Try as they might, the Dragons couldn't force their way over the line in the closing stages and the visitors held out for a vital victory.

The scorers:

For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Try:
Wardle
Con: Tovey
Pens: Prydie, Tovey 3

For Leinster:
Tries:
Dundon, Reid
Cons: Gopperth 2
Pens: Gopperth 3

Yellow cards: Adam Jones (Newport Gwent Dragons, 57), Jack O'Connell (Leinster, 72)

Teams:

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ross Wardle, 11 Adam Hughes, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei. 7 Lewis Evans (captain), 6 Jevon Groves, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Dan Way, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Nathan Williams, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Kris Burton, 23 Dan Evans.

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Darragh Fanning, 13 Luke Fitzgerald, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 John Cooney, 8 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Shane Jennings (captain), 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Aaron Dundon, 1 Michael Bent.
Replacements:16 James Tracy, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ben Marshall, 20 Leo Auva'a, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Brendan Macken.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Neil Hennessy (Wales)

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