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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 23 February, 2019


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FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY, Leinster could ‘do a Chelsea’ a be in possession of both European club competition titles. The sun was (initially) shining on the RDS and Joe Schmidt is aiming for the double.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Leinster 34-13 Stade Francais

Welcome along to our live coverage from the RDS and let me assure you, I have steered clear of the free beer and wine in the ‘press’ room.

As ‘Happy Ever After’ from Maroon 5 warbles out (they’ve reinvented themselves), here are your teams:

Leinster: R Kearney; A Conway, F McFadden, I Madigan, I Nacewa; J Sexton, I Boss: J McGrath, S Cronin, M Ross; Q Roux, D Toner; R Ruddock, S O’Brien, J Heaslip.

Replacements: R Strauss, C Healy, J Hagan, L Cullen, S Jennings, J Cooney, A Goodman, D Kearney.

Stade Francais: J Porical, J Sinzelle, G Doumayrou, P Williams, H Bonneval, J Plisson, J Dupuy, A De Malmanche , L Sempere, R Slimani, S Lavalla, G Mostert, D Lyons, P Rabadan, S Parisse.

Replacements: R Bonfils, S Wright, J Becasseau, A van Zyl, L Tomiki, W Vuidarvuwalu, J Arias, P Warwick.

15 minutes to go so time for younail your colours to the mast. You do you fancy to win it tonight?

Poll Results:


It’s a fine evening in Dublin 4. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Anybody else think this Stade Francais supporter (seen here getting a kiss from Leinster fan Ben Gilloway) is a distant Sexton cousin?

(©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Here is what the rival captains, Sergio Parisse and Jamie Heaslip, had to say for themselves yesterday:

Heaslip on Parisse: The leadership he shows for Stade and Italy is clear. It is a huge challenge, for me, personally, and the back row to face Sergio and his back row unit.

Parisse on Heaslip: It is nice to hear Heaslip, as captain, say nice things but, as far as I am concerned, it is not the type of compliment that will change my attitude for the final

TRY! (Madigan ’2) Leinster 7-0

Superb break with Nacewa slipping up the middle and, with options on both sides, finding Madigan on his left shoulder. He slips him away and the centre touches down under the posts. Sexton converts.

Kearney, moments after a fortunate 22 clearance, is nearly away and clear for a second try as Dupuy throws a wayward pass. The Cooley native is collared and we have a break in play for an early injury. Leinster man down, it’s Ross.

Apologies for those who were confused by the medical evidence popping into the liveblog there – we accidentally posted some updates from the abortion hearings to the wrong liveblog. Gavan Reilly is hanging his head in technological shame.

TRY! (Cronin ’20) Leinster 14-0 Stade Francais

One of the best tries you’re likely to see. Boss pumps up a box-kick and Conway, at full charge, grabs it in the air, rides a tackle and offloads for Cronin. who races clear to tap down under the posts. Sexton’s easy conversion is good.

Stade must be disgusted. They are making all the hard yards but loose passing and awful defence has cost them twice, to the tune of 14 cheap points. Parisse is the latest to botch a pass and Conway gathers before getting clipped as he tries to launch another break.

TRY! (Kearney ’28) Leinster 19-3 Stade Francais

Dupuy gets penalised for handling the ball on the ground as Heaslip tries to present for his teammates. Scrum blue. THEN… we’ll miss this next season. Sublime Sexton cross-field kick is gathered by the flying Nacewa. He is grabbed around the ankles but pops a pass back for Kearney, who Supermans over the pair to touch down in the corner. The conversion, from the left touchline, is good.

Stan Wright is on already for Malmanche and the former Leinster prop (of Cook Island fame) gets a warm reception.

Before that third try Jerome Porical slotted over a 25th minute penalty for Stade.

33 minutes gone now and Parisse is trying to spark his team. Heaslip makes a huge tackle before a 2-on-1 is spoiled when LaValla flips a pass straight out of play.

Parisse is disgusted with Owens and wants O’Brien penalised for knocking forward on an intercept attempt. He had a point but the Welshman wasn’t listening. Kearney tries to hoof clear but skews his kick off the outside left of his boot. Stade pile forward again but Nacewa is home to clean up and launch a superb clearing kick to the halfway line.

PEN (Porical ’40) Leinster 21-6 Stade Francais

A late penalty and Parisse, wisely, opts for a kick at goal. Nice, 45 metre kick from the fullback.


2nd Half KICK-OFF

Sexton gets us underway.

Someone from the Lions coaching staff will be looking at Rob Kearney’s kicking this season and jotting down ‘needs work’. He sends another clearancev nowhere in particular and Stade attack again. Two lads that have done well for the Leinster pack today (holding their own more so than breaking down walls) – Quinn Roux and Jack McGrath. Leinster wheel a scrum yet get penalised.

Could Madigan and McFadden be Leinster centre combination next year? They are linking up very well. Remember, outhalf Jimmy Gopperth is coming in this summer. Smart clearance from McFadden and Porical just about thumps past Nacewa as he tries to block the kick on the Stade 22. Jack McGrath crumbles at a scrum but, luckily, Owens calls for a re-set. 48 minutes gone.

PEN (Sexton ’53) Leinster 24-6 Stade Francais

Here come Strauss and Healy for Cronin and McGrath. Handy bench boys to have around. Leinster win a penalty 25 metres out, straight in front of the posts. Heaslip makes the smart call and Sexton slots over. 18 points is the gap. 27 minutes left.

Stade need something to go for them and quick. Party atmosphere already with the home fans confident of victory now. They get a scrum inside the Leinster 22 for their troubles but it is scant reward. I have yet to see the possession stats but the French side must be up over 60%.

Nacewa! The Kiwi (capped once for Fiji) springs off his wing, gambling, to prevent an overlap. It stalls the French move and Sinzelle is swallowed up on the right wing when he finally gets his paws on the ball.

Sean O’Brien walking off at no great pace. Jennings on. Cullen is on for Roux and Hagan comes on for Ross. Sexton is forced to throw his body in Sinzelle’s path after a poor judged clearance. Nacewa races to a loose ball but his grubber goes out and Stade get the throw. 60 minutes gone.

The brass band, meanwhile, play on.

PEN (Sexton ’63) Leinster 27-6 Stade Francais

The brass band, from Biarritz (I’ve been told), are getting the crowd going with a rendition of ‘Dirty Old Town’, which I always thought was a song about Manchester. Anyway, they’ve shusshed up and allowed Sexton to size up a 45-metre penalty attempt. Over she goes. 12 points for Jonny tonight.

TRY (Sinzelle ’13) Leinster 27-13 Stade Francais

Overlap finally pays off as Bonneval holds onto the ball long enough to slip in Sinzelle to touch down in the righthand corner. Porical follows up with a superb conversion. 13 minutes remaining. McFadden, injured on that play, might need to be stretchered off here. Will it be a tense finish?

A Leinster scrum on halfway implodes and Bonneval steams forward. Parisse gets booed for stamping on an arm at the ensuing ruck but it is his own man. Jennings then hacks a loose Stade pass, which goes to ground, clear and three Leinster players run past it. Madigan’s attempt to fly hack on is a swing and a miss. Into the final 10.

Kearney denied! The fullback is denied what looks, on live viewing, to be a certain try. The touch judge calls his foot out and he is even denied the benefit of a replay. The replay, in slow-mo, proves IT WAS A TRY. But, alas.

Kearney burned Bonneval on the outside there. Pinned the ears back and deserved the try. Hitting form at an opportune time. Stade win a penalty on halfway. One last hurrah?

Sinzelle botches a scoop offload to Arias that could have easily led to a try. Kearney – welcome back – takes a stunning catch high above the Stade 10m line and charges forward. Four minutes to play and more European silverware awaits.

Man of the Match is Sexton. Robbery! Nacewa all day! …. TMO

TRY! (Healy ’78) Leinster 34-6 Stade Francais

Cherry on top as Healy powers over on the lefthand flank. Sexton converts.

Nice touch as Dave Kearney replaced brother Rob for the final couple of minutes.


About the author:

Patrick McCarry