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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 15 February, 2019
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Good afternoon, folks. Welcome along to our live coverage of the Guinness Pro12 meeting of Leinster and Connacht.

Paul Dollery here to keep you posted throughout the game from back at base, while Ryan Bailey is at the RDS for us to keep an eye on the second of this weekend’s inter-provincial fixtures.

If you want to join in, tweet us: @rugby_ie and @The42_ie, e-mail pauldollery@the42.ie or post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Kick-off in Dublin is at 5.15pm.

Here’s Bundee Aki arriving at the RDS earlier on. The news this week that he has committed his future to Connacht is a massive boost to the province.

Bundee Aki Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Both teams will line out as they were announced yesterday…

Leinster

15. Isa Nacewa (captain)
14. Adam Byrne
13. Rory O’Loughlin
12. Noel Reid
11. Barry Daly
10. Joey Carbery
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Cian Healy
2. Sean Cronin
3. Mike Ross
4. Mick Kearney
5. Ian Nagle
6. Dan Leavy
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Peter Dooley
18. Michael Bent
19. Mike McCarthy
20. Josh van der Flier
21. Luke McGrath
22. Ross Byrne
23. Rob Kearney

Connacht

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Peter Robb
12. Craig Ronaldson
11. Cian Kelleher
10. Jack Carty
9. Kieran Marmion

1. JP Cooney
2. Dave Heffernan
3. Conor Carey
4. Quinn Roux
5. Andrew Browne
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Jake Heenan
8. John Muldoon (captain)

Replacements:

16. Shane Delahunt
17. Dominic Robertson-McCoy
18. Finlay Bealham
19. James Cannon
20. Eoin McKeon
21. Caolin Blade
22. Bundee Aki
23. Stacey Ili

While you’re waiting for kick-off, here’s a reminder of the most recent meeting of the side’s — last May’s Pro12 final.

Source: PRO12 Rugby/YouTube

Here we go: it’s fifth versus ninth in the Guinness Pro12, the champions versus the runners-up. Connacht have never won at the RDS. Can Pat Lam’s side change that?

Pat Lam Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

4Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 0

Connacht deploying a kicking game in the early stages here and a Cian Healy infringement at the breakdown gives them a penalty.

5Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 3

Nicely done by Craig Ronaldson and Connacht take an early lead.

10Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 3

Connacht seeing the lion’s share of the possession and using their expansive brand of rugby to put pressure on Leinster but Healy does well to ease it with a turnover for the hosts.

12Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 3

Connacht looking very dangerous with the ball in hand. Jack Carty was very nearly in for a try there but Leinster survive.

14Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 6

Under ferocious pressure, Leinster cough up another penalty says referee John Lacey and Ronaldson makes no mistake again from wide on the right.

17Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 6

“Leinster need Sean O’Brien in the game,” says Alan Quinlan on Sky Sports.

19Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 6

Great defence by Leinster to snuff out another Connacht attack.

19Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 6

Bundee Aki is on for Connacht. Looks like Craig Ronaldson has gone off for a head injury assessment.

21Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 6

Connacht steal a Leinster lineout but Aki knocks it on so it’s a scrum to Leinster on Connacht’s 22.

23Mins

Leinster 0 Connacht 6

Strong scrum by Leinster wins them a penalty.

24Mins

Leinster 3 Connacht 6

Just under 24 minutes in and Isa Nacewa gets Leinster up and running.

27Mins

Leinster 3 Connacht 6

Carbery kicks Leinster into the opposing 22 after great work at the breakdown by Dan Leavy but Connacht steal another line-out.

29Mins

Leinster 3 Connacht 6

Sean O’Brien is going to have 10 minutes off after a yellow card for recklessness as he tried to clear out the ruck, ramming into the head of Peter Robb with his shoulder.

32Mins

Leinster 3 Connacht 6

Leinster are starting to drive Connacht back and they win another penalty thanks to good work at the breakdown.

33Mins

Leinster 6 Connacht 6

It’s good again from Nacewa and the teams are level.

34Mins

Leinster 6 Connacht 6

Excellent stuff there from Healy and O’Loughlin to force that penalty. The last 10 or 15 minutes have been much better from Leinster.

36Mins

Leinster 6 Connacht 6

Scrum to Leinster following a knock-on by Andrew Browne. Half-time approaching.

38Mins

Leinster 6 Connacht 6

Peter Robb could be in trouble here for what looked like a deliberate knock-on as Leinster went wide. John Lacey is consulting the TMO.

38Mins

Leinster 6 Connacht 6

Yellow card for Robb and he joins O’Brien in the sin bin.

39Mins

Leinster 9 Connacht 6

Nacewa nails another one and Leinster lead in the 39th minute for the first time in this game.

39Mins

Leinster 9 Connacht 6

Sean O’Brien is back on. Leinster were behind when he went off. Now they lead. A good period for Leo Cullen’s side despite the loss of the Ireland flanker.

40Mins

Leinster 9 Connacht 6

Some late pressure by Connacht as they drive towards the Leinster line but the hosts defend brilliantly and survive as the visitors knock forward. Dramatic end to the opening half.

Flag

Half-time: Leinster 9 Connacht 6

Rory O'Loughlin and Sean O'Brien with Peter Robb Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Cian Healy with Quinn Roux Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sean O'Brien gets a yellow card from referee John Lacey Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Barry Daly and Cian Kelleher Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Peter Robb and Dan Leavy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

46Mins

Leinster 9 Connacht 6

Carty kicks wide to play Kelleher in but it’s a bit heavy and he ends up stepping into touch.

49Mins

Leinster 9 Connacht 6

Jack Conan kicks ahead to bring Leinster to Connacht’s line but they mop it up. However, it’ll be a scrum to the hosts.

51Mins

Leinster 14 Connacht 6 

That’s the first try of the game as Adam Byrne gets in at the corner after the ball was spread wide by Gibson-Park and then Cronin. Nacewa narrowly misses with a very tricky conversion.

54Mins

Leinster 14 Connacht 6 

Leinster have their tails up now and are forcing turnovers. Long way to go but the momentum is with Leo Cullen’s men for now.

57Mins

Leinster 14 Connacht 6 

Leinster near the Connacht line again but O’Halloran gets a crucial turnover for Connacht. Leinster will be disappointed not to have taken a score from that period of pressure.

58Mins

Leinster 14 Connacht 6 

Gordon D’Arcy tells Sky Sports that he’s been very impressed with Leinster’s “accuracy in the wider channels.”

59Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

Brilliant work by O’Brien to turn the ball over at the breakdown and Nacewa extends Leinster’s lead with a penalty.

62Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

So many positive individual displays from Leinster this evening: Healy, Cronin, Leavy, O’Brien, Byrne, Nacewa, to name just a few.

64Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

Alan Quinlan singing the praises for Dan Leavy at the moment.

66Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

Lovely break by Reid but Carbery’s pass was forward.

68Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

Connacht aiming to turn the screw in a bid to get back in the game after a bit of a lull in the play, but O’Halloran knocks forward to thwart their attack.

69Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

Josh van der Flier is on for Sean O’Brien.

72Mins

Leinster 17 Connacht 6 

Risky play from Connacht as they go wide in an effort to attack from inside their own 22 and it backfires as Leinster force a scrum.

77Mins

Leinster 24 Connacht 6

That seals it for Leinster. Barry Daly takes a beautifully weighted pass from Carbery and gets in at the left corner for the home side’s second try, before Nacewa adds the conversion.

80Mins

Leinster 24 Connacht 6

Leinster’s Dan Leavy is named man of the match.

80Mins

Leinster 24 Connacht 13

Shane Delahunt runs a great line to cross for Connacht, before Carty converts. However, it’s merely a consolation for Connacht because that’s full-time.

About the author:

Paul Dollery

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