Late rally sees Leinster extend winning streak
URC REPORT: Leinster crossed for two late tries to stretch their winning streak in the United Rugby Championship to a dozen games with a last-ditch 24-19 win against the Ospreys in Swansea.
The home side led for 63 minutes of the contest but fullback Hugo Keenan and wing Jimmy O’Brien crossed the whitewash to clinch a victory for the leaders.
A late Cai Evans penalty salvaged a bonus point for the Welsh team, who pushed the Dubliners all the way in this compelling clash.
Wing Keelan Giles had crossed for the game’s first try but Leinster hit back with hooker Dan Sheehan just before the break.
The Ospreys produced a resolute defensive performance and dominated the scrum despite having to live off scraps of possession and losing the territory battle to Leinster.
The hosts had been on an impressive three-match unbeaten run but that ended with this defeat to a side many expect to be in contention for the title.
The sides went in 10-10 at half-time following tries by wing Giles and hooker Sheehan, but the talking point of the half was some superb defence and dominant scrum by the home side.
Giles had been the recipient of a superb blindside move for the Ospreys after a break from the base of the scrum by number eight Morgan Morris sent the wing away, with help from scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams.
The visitors replied with hooker Sheehan crashing over out wide after the home side’s defence ran out of numbers.
Leinster had more ball and territory but could not break down the home side’s resolute defence and were forced into uncharacteristic errors for a side at the top of the table.
Evans’ accuracy with the boot had the Welsh side 16-10 ahead in the 54th minute, before the late tries, scored after a sustained period of pressure, snatched victory for Leinster.
Player of the Match
While Keiran Williams was given the award, Tipuric was everywhere and led this rear-guard action for his side. Turnovers, last-ditch tackles and leading by example, it was all there in his performance. It was a reminder to returning Wales coach Warren Gatland of Tipuric’s ability as a player and skipper.
Play of the Match
The move for Giles’ try was a classic of its kind from Morris’ burst off the back of the dominant Ospreys scrum down the blindside with the support of his scrum-half Morgan-Williams and his perfectly timed pass putting Giles away for the score in the corner.
Con: C Evans
Pens: C Evans 4
Tries: Sheehan, Keenan, O’Brien
Cons: H Byrne, R Byrne 2
Pen: H Byrne
Ospreys: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 Michael Collins, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Ethan Roots, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Rhys Davies, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Nicky Smit.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Huw Sutton, 20 Harri Deaves, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Jack Walsh.
Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Jamie Osborne, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Jimmy O’Brien, 10 Harry Byrne, 9 Cormac Foley, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Scott Penny, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 Brian Deeny, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 John McKee, 17 Michael Milne, 18 Vakhtang Abdaladze, 19 James Ryan, 20 Josyh van der Flier, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Russell.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Dewi Phillips (Wales), Jason Bessant (Wales)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)