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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 23 June, 2018


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Leinster 54-13 Edinburgh

Hello and welcome to this evening’s liveblog.

After the highs of last week, it’s back to the bread and butter of the RaboDirect PRO12 for Leinster.

Here are tonight’s teams:

Leinster: Nacewa; D Kearney, McFadden, D’Arcy, Carr; Madigan, Boss: Van Der Merwe, Cronin, White; Browne, Toner; Ruddock, Jennings, Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Strauss, McGrath, Moore, McLaughlin, Auva’a, Reddan, Reid, Macken.

Edinburgh: Brown; Jones, De Luca, Scott, T Visser; Laidlaw (capt.) Leck: Traynor, Ford, Cross; Lozada, Cox; McInally, Grant, Talei.

Replacements: Kelly, Hislop, Gliding, Gilchrist, Denton, Rennie, Godman, Thompson

In addition to the Leinster game, we’ve previewed all the matches involving Irish sides this weekend. Check out everything you need to know about the games here.

Joe Schmidt says some of the players tonight “deserve an opportunity” to place themselves in contention for starting in the Heineken Cup semi-final.

And we’re underway…

Leinster have started brightly and are deep in opposition territory, before Nacewa is penalised for a sloppy knock on.


That can only be described as a freak try. McFadden’s penalty attempt hits off the post, and Shane Jennings is quickest to react, swiftly grounding the ball on the try line.

Lee Jones could’ve done far better, as he looked very sluggish in attempting to ground the ball ahead of Jennings. McFadden then drags his conversion horribly wide.


Nick De Luca responds immediately for Edinburgh, as he exploits a gap in their defence after some quick passing across their backline.


Kearney uses his pace to escape his marker before passing to an onrushing McFadden, who accelerates away and crosses over the line in impressive fashion. However, McFadden then continues his abysmal kicking record so far, missing a less-than-difficult conversion.

McFadden misses another penalty attempt. Surely Leinster must be considering handing the kicking duties over to Ian Madigan, even at this early stage, as McFadden has missed all four of his attempts so far.

The Leinster scrum is looking good once again, as Edinburgh are penalised for collapsing. This time, McFadden makes no mistake with the penalty, much to his own relief presumably.

Greg Laidlaw must have caught McFadden’s poor kicking disease, as he slices a penalty horribly wide, thus ensuring Leinster’s six-point lead remains intact.


Leinster’s patient build-up play is eventually rewarded. Isaac Boss collects the ball deep in the Edinburgh 22 and passes to an onrushing Cronin, who crosses over the line unchallenged. However, worryingly for Leinster, McFadden again misses the conversion.


It must be said that that was an incredibly impressive first-half performance from Leinster when you consider the absence of several key players.

While their first XV may be almost set in stone at this stage, some of the fringe members of the team are doing themselves no harm whatsoever with their performances so far. If anything, they should be completely out of sight, and this would be the case if Fergus McFadden had remembered to bring his kicking boots.

Michael Bradley, meanwhile, will presumably be slightly concerned at his side’s Heineken Cup hangover, particularly when you consider that they’re not missing as many key players as their opponents.

We’re back underway…


A clever cross-field kick from Madigan is collected by Fionn Carr and he touches down unchallenged. Nacewa, who’s taken over kicking from McFadden, is immediately successful with his first conversion attempt.

Edinburgh respond immediately, as Laidlaw kicks a penalty that was straight in front of the posts, to give them feint hopes of avoiding defeat.

Edinburgh have enjoyed a lot of possession in the past few minutes, but seem to lack a cutting edge at the moment.

Leinster have noticeably dropped the tempo in recent minutes – perhaps they’re content with the four tries.

Laidlaw gets another penalty for Edinburgh, though it’ll surely be a consolation unless they can produce something spectacular in the remaining 25 minutes.

Nacewa gets another simple penalty to continue his 100% record. Surely there’s no way back for Edinburgh at this stage.


It’s been coming. A beautifully timed-pass from Boss finds Nacewa, who runs through the Edinburgh defence as if it wasn’t there before crossing over. He then converts from straight in front of the posts.

Edinburgh have all but given up, judging by their often flimsy attempts at tackling.


Leinster are in again, as Auva’a touches down following an excellent driving maul from the Leinster forwards. Leinster’s third kicker of the evening, Madigan, misses the conversion, but it hardly matters at this stage.

The two substitutes – Noel Reid and Brendan Macken – combine effectively, enabling the latter to score a wonderful breakaway try. Madigan makes no mistake on this occasion, with a well-struck conversion.

It’s champagne rugby at the moment from Leinster, as they run half the length of the pitch, simultaneously exchanging a series of slick passes, before Boss is eventually stopped just short of the try line.

Meanwhile, Ian Madigan has deservedly won the man-of-the-match award.


Devin Toner emerges from a group of players and evades some half-hearted Edinburgh tackling before crossing over. Madigan gets another conversion from straight in front of the posts.


That game was every bit as one-sided as the scoreline suggests. Credit must be given to Leinster though, for disposing of their opponents in a thoroughly professional manner. The game, once again, emphasises the strength in depth that Joe Schmidt’s side seem to have, as they were barely affected by the absence of several key players.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, continue their woeful RaboDirect PRO12 form, which is in stark contrast to their Heineken Cup performances this season. Though it was by no means their most important game of the season, Michael Bradley will surely be disappointed at the way his side wilted so badly in the closing stages of the game.

Man of the match/perfectionist Ian Madigan tells TG4 he is not entirely satisfied with his performance.

He adds that he is “delighted” to have signed a two-year extension to his contract.

Michael Bradley admits his side “made a lot of mistakes” and that they “didn’t turn up today”. He says that Leinster “blew us off the park” and calls them “a top side”.

He adds that the game was over “ten minutes into the second half”.

Joe Schmidt plays down his side’s victory, indicating that Edinburgh were tired from last week. On the topic of his selection dilemma, he admits he’ll be “reaching for the Panadol”

Okay that’s it from me. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy