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April 2 2018

Dublin on April Fools day, Easter Sunday was much better weather than the days around it. The crowd were in good voice and expecting a home win. The Guinness was going down well with the approximate 2,500 Saracens supporters who had made the journey, but they were outnumbered 20 to 1. Leinster were rewarded with their intention to run the ball at every opportunity when the ball went wide for Lowe and Nacewa to go past a weak tackle by Williams and as Goode came out for the tackle the ball was passed to Ringrose to run under the posts. Saracens though came back well and Farrell had an easy slot from a penalty. This was followed up by another to bring Sarries within a point. The defence of Leinster was very strong; if wasn’t pushing Sarries back, but we were unable to make any headway despite running a lot of ball.  

When Leinster did get the ball they seemed to do more with it, some nice little inside balls finding inroads although not that many. Leinster did seem to make ground consistently, but Sarries turned the ball over a couple of time in a tight first half. Sarries offended for offside, and Sexton extended the lead to 4 points. Sarries kept plugging away and the first half was mostly spent just outside the Leinster 22. There was another simple Farrell penalty and it was a 1 point game again. This only lasted for 5 minutes as Wiggy made a late no-arms tackle on Sexton, rather silly and he was lucky to escape a card. Sexton again extended the lead to 4 points but as he ran back decided to kick away the ball as Farrell was racing to pick it up. Mr Garces didn’t like that and awarded Sarries a penalty.

With the Sarries supporters calling out Bosch, Bosch, Bosch, he plonked the ball down, took those two steps and was back on the beach as the kick sailed between the posts. Sarries had their tails up now and were playing in the Leinster half shortly afterwards. A penalty was awarded right on the touchline; Farrell kicking to the corner with what would have been as tricky penalty. From the resulting lineout another penalty, this time 15 metres in. I for one was surprised when he chose to go again for the corner, rather than finish the half ahead. The gamble didn’t pay off as the ball wasn’t taken cleanly and Leinster were able to close out the half 13-12 up.

The second half was a bit different as Leinster came out playing and keeping the ball. It quickly paid off with a neat little move with quick ball, first pulling the only guard across and then an inside ball to Leavy who galloped in under the posts unopposed. Shortly afterwards Sexton added another penalty. Sarries tried to respond, but their play seemed slow and predictable compared to Leinster. Then as the first of the replacements were coming on, Lowe was held up by Maro close to the line, but three blue shirted forwards drove him the 5 yards to and over the line. Lowe did well to get the ball down. Again it was close to the posts, so the conversion was easy and it was 30-12

Sarries brought on Spencer, Loz and Cowans straight after the try and the pace of Spencer and Loz started to make some gaps appear. They didn’t make many yards, but forced Leinster to give away some penalties.  Suddenly Leinster were looking rattled and the miracle might happen. Williams was free on the right hand side. Kearney came in with a tackle that had similarities with the Bundi Aki one for Ireland. I’m surprised that Garces didn’t want to look at it, but another penalty came in the same passage of play and Farrell worked a kick to the corner. Everyone joined in, and Cowan went over with 15 minutes left. Williams went off for a HIA; I hope it wasn’t serious as he didn’t return.

The game was getting closer and a little more frantic, Sarries pressing all the time now. Leinster second row Toner, stuck out a long leg to trip Spencer up at a ruck, getting his marching orders (just a yellow). That untaken penalty in the first half was now crucial as there were 3 easy points on offer. Being 11 down, Sarries could only go for the corner and were unable to repeat the Cowan drive. The game petered out, with Sarries pressing hard but unable to make any inroads until the final whistle.

To be fair, Leinster looked good for their win; had Rhodes and Billy been available it might have been closer. If we are looking to get a good run in Europe next year, we need to put some more pace in the midfield. Still no more distractions and six matches in eight weeks for us this season. Although we came up short against Leinster I think we can win the premiership  


15.  Rob Kearney 14. Fergus McFadden 13. Garry Ringrose 12. Isa Nacewa (O'Loughlin 79') 11. James Lowe 10. Johnny Sexton (Carbery 68') 9. Luke McGrath (McCarthy 65'); 1. Cian Healy (J.McGrath 54') 2. Sean Cronin (Tracy 60') 3. Tadhg Furlong (Porter 66') 4. Devin Toner 5. James Ryan 6. Scott Fardy (Ruddock 65') 7. Dan Leavy, 8. Jordi Murphy (Deegan 79').

Replacements 16. James Tracy 17. Jack McGrath 18. Andrew Porter 19. Rhys Ruddock 20. Max Deegan 21. Nick McCarthy 22. Joey Carbery 23. Rory O'Loughlin.

Tries: Ringrose (4'), Leavy (47'), Lowe (58')

Conversions: Sexton 2/2, McFadden 1/1

Penalties: Sexton 3/3

Yellow card: Toner (75)


15. Alex Goode 14. Liam Williams (Wyles 63') 13. Marcelo Bosch (Lozowski 60') 12. Brad Barritt 11. Sean Maitland 10. Owen Farrell 9. Richard Wigglesworth (Spencer 60') 1. Mako Vunipola (Barrington 77') 2. Jamie George (Brits 52') 3. Juan Figallo (Lamositele 65') 4. Maro Itoje 5. George Kruis (Day 77'), 6. Nick Isiekwe 7. Schalk Burger (Cowan 60') 8. Jackson Wray

Replacements 16. Schalk Brits 17. Richard Barrington 18. Titi Lamositele 19. Dom Day 20 Blair Cowan 21 Ben Spencer 22 Alex Lozowski 23 Chris Wyles.

Tries: Cowan (64')

Conversions: Farrell

Penalties: Farrell 3/3, Bosch 1/1

Man of the Match: Dan Leavy

Attendance: 51,700

Referee: J Garces 

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02/04/2018 11:02
Thanks Jeremy, not an easy one to write (although if you flew home on Ryanair last night you had plenty of time at the airport to write it!!)

Anyone going to the Gardens next weekend -we urgently need a reporter

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:04:12:15:22:57 by Darraghgirl.

derbyshire fan (IP Logged)
02/04/2018 20:39
Thanks for the report - I don't think I was the only one who was not as depressed by the loss as I had expected to be. Let's make sure we are behind the boys for the last games in the Premiership

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