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Dublin: -1°C Sunday 24 January 2021
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Leinster squeeze past Gloucester to record second pre-season victory

Leo Cullen’s men played some exciting rugby in patches.

Leinster 26

Gloucester 24

Murray Kinsella reports from Tallaght Stadium

LEINSTER SECURED THEIR second win in two pre-season games as they ran four tries past visiting Premiership side Gloucester.

Nick McCarthy runs in for a try Nick McCarthy scored two first-half tries for Leinster. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Leo Cullen’s men played excellent attacking rugby in patches, even with rain pouring down on Tallaght Stadium for the majority of the second 40 minutes. Defensive lapses will have frustrated the Leinster coaching staff, however, as the visitors almost secured a comeback draw.

There were several promising individual displays as both clubs essentially opted to field different XVs in each half.

Garry Ringrose was defensively excellent in the 13 shirt, making impressive reads from the off and engaging in an intriguing battle with Gloucester’s Scotland international Matt Scott. Ringrose was tested but came up with the correct answers.

Adam Byrne on the right wing showed off his physical edge and finished a first-half try superbly, getting onto Niall Morris’ beautiful grubber, nudging the ball ahead like a footballer, and scrambling to dot down as David Humphreys’ Gloucester panicked.

Hooker Bryan Byrne was energetic in the opening period too, tackling aggressively and showing sharp feet and an offload to tee up Nick McCarthy’s second try, shortly after the former St. Michael’s scrum-half had sniped from a close range ruck for his first.

Captain Jack Conan, who was also involved in the second half, showed his muscular ball-carrying ability and led the battle in contact, but he hobbled off late in the game with what looked like an ankle injury. He has had his travails in that department, so the number eight will hope it’s nothing of major concern.

Outgoing defence coach Kurt McQuilkin will have been disappointed with Leinster giving up two tries to barreling Gloucester wing David Halaifonua in the opening half, with the Tongan crossing through a Josh van der Flier tackle for his second to leave the half-time score 19-12 in Leinster’s favour.

Barry Daly tackled by Gareth Evans and Paul Doran Jones UCD wing Barry Daly carries into contact. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Centre Rory O’Loughlin was among the Leinster men to impress after the break, running excellent lines throughout and proving a constant threat to the visitors.

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The Old Belvedere man benefited from the superb build-up work of lively scrum-half Charlie Rock, his clubmate Barry Daly and out-half Joey Carbery down the left flank to score Leinster’s fourth try.

England international back row Ben Morgan brought Gloucester back into the game by hammering over from close range inside the final quarter of the game, and Henry Purdy’s try then provided James Hook with the chance to equalise with his conversion effort.

The ball flew wide, however, and Leinster recorded their second win of the pre-season, with Bath to visit Dublin next Friday.

The likes of Jeremy Loughman, a giant at tighthead, and the aggressive Dominic Ryan will hope for further opportunities to impress Cullen and his coaching team in that fixture.

Leinster scorers:

Tries: Adam Byrne, Nick McCarthy [2], Rory O’Loughlin

Conversions: Cathal Marsh [2 from 3], Joey Carbery [1 from 1]

Gloucester scorers:

Tries: David Halaifonua [2], Ben Morgan, Henry Purdy

Conversions: Billy Burns [1 from 2], James Hook [1 from 2]

LEINSTER: Niall Morris (Tom Daly ’50 (Ross Byrne ’72)); Adam Byrne (Fergus McFadden ‘HT), Garry Ringrose ( Zane Kirchner ‘HT), Tom Daly (Rory O’Loughlin ‘HT), Barry Daly (Adam Byrne ’60); Cathal Marsh (Joey Carbery ‘HT), Nick McCarthy (Charlie Rock ‘HT); Peter Dooley (Andrew Porter ‘HT), Bryan Byrne (James Tracy ‘HT), Michael Bent (Jeremy Loughman ’31 (Vakh Abdaladze ’68)); Ian Nagle (Ross Molony ‘HT), Hayden Triggs (Josh Murphy ’50 (Jack Conan ’63 (Sean McNulty ’70))); Josh Murphy (Dominic Ryan ‘HT), Josh van der Flier (Dan Leavy ‘HT), Jack Conan (captain) (Peader Timmins ‘HT).

GLOUCESTER first half: Tom Marshall; David Halaifonua, Matt Scott, Billy Twelvetrees, Henry Purdy; Billy Burns, Willi Heinz (captain); Paddy McAllister, Richard Hibbard, Paul Doran-Jones; Mariano Galarza, Tom Savage; Ross Moriarty, Jacob Rowan, Gareth Evans.

GLOUCESTER second half:  Lloyd Evans; Elliott Creed, Andy Symons, Mark Atkinson, David Halaifonua; James Hook, Callum Braley; Cameron Orr, Darren Dawidiuk, John Afoa (captain); Alex Craig, Joe Latta, Lewis Ludlow, Dan Thomas, Ben Morgan.

Referee: John Lacey [IRFU].

Attendance: 1,866.

- This article was updated at 11.22 on 22 August to correct Rory O’Loughlin’s club from UCD to Old Belvedere.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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