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Leinster 22-16 Edinburgh

Hello, and welcome to our liveblog of Leinster versus Edinburgh.

The Leinster team has a decidedly more experienced look about it than it has done in previous weeks, as you’ll see below.

Leinster: Isa Nacewa, Andrew Conway, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Fionn Carr, Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (cpt), Tom Denton, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Tom Sexton, Heinke van der Merwe, Jamie Hagan, Devin Toner, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Brendan Macken.

Edinburgh: Greig Tonks, Lee Jones, Nick De Luca, Matt Scott, Tom Brown, Greig Laidlaw (cpt), Richie Rees, John Yapp, Ross Ford, Geoff Cross, Grant Gilchrist, Sean Cox, Stuart McInally, Roddy Grant, Netani Talei.

Replacements: Andy Titterrell, Robin Hislop, Willem Nel, Robert McAlpine, Dimitri Basilaia, Chris Leck, Harry Leonard, Dougie Fife.

RTE’s George Hook and Shane Horgan have both paid tribute to Nevin Spence ahead of the game.

Horgan actually played against Spence before his retirement, and says he was a player who had the potential to make an impact on the sport.

Leinster’s Gordon D’Arcy and the Leinster players wear a t-shirt with the letters NS on them in memory of Nevin Spence (INPHO/Dan Sheridan).

Late change to the Leinster starting side: John Cooney comes in for the injured Eoin Reddan.

We’re underway now, after an immaculately observed minute’s silence in honour of Nevin Spence.

Early pressure from Leinster, as the visitors are forced to do some last-ditch defending in their 22.

TRY FOR LEINSTER!

Leinster 7-0 Edinburgh: Fittingly, Jonathan Sexton finishes off a move that he started with a clever inside pass that allowed Cian Healy to expose a gap in the opposition defence.

Cooney then gathers possession and passes it out to the fly-half, who drives powerfully over the line to give Leinster the lead. He then makes no mistake with an assured conversion to extend the hosts’ advantage.

Judging by the first few minutes, Scottish teams’ terrible away record against Leinster looks set to continue.

Meanwhile, as I type, Sexton hits a sublime kick into the corner from distance.

Leinster 10-0 Edinburgh: Leinster’s dominance continues, as intensive pressure in Edinburgh’s 22 ultimately causes them to concede a penalty, which Sexton dispatches with undue ease.

The experience in this Leinster side is certainly showing at the moment. They’ve barely put a foot wrong so far.

Leinster’s Jonathan Sexton scores the opening try despite the attentions of Ross Ford of Edinburgh (INPHO/James Crombie).

Leinster 10-3 Edinburgh (23 mins): Greig Laidlaw kicks a relatively straightforward penalty after a break from Edinburgh out of nowhere.

Let-off for Leinster beforehand though, as Nick De Luca failed to hold on to a Garryowen while he crossed the try line, before the play is brought back for the penalty.

Gordon D’Arcy has picked up a knock and has to come off unfortunately, and he is replaced by Brendan Macken.

Leinster haven’t been quite as impressive in the past five minutes as they were in the opening 20. The intensity of their game has patently dropped all of a sudden.

Leinster 10-6 Edinburgh (32 mins): Laidlaw hits a less than convincing penalty in front of the posts that just about goes over.

Leinster have definitely gone off the boil of late, letting their opponents back into the game after that fantastic opening period for the home side.

Missed opportunity as Leinster attack Edinburgh in their 22, but Sean Cronin is left isolated with the ball and is subsequently penalised for failing to release when tackled.

Three and half minutes left until half-time now.

Good defending from Leinster, who do well to survive a period of sustained pressure from their opponents, who are eventually penalised for holding on.

Meanwhile, as I type, Jonathan Sexton appears to be injured and may need to go off.

HALF-TIME: LEINSTER 10-6 EDINBURGH

The scoreline is probably just about a fair reflection on how that half panned out.

Leinster started off brilliantly, and were rewarded in the form of a well-worked Sexton try.

However, it was half of two halves, as a mixture of the hosts’ drop in standards and Edinburgh’s resurgence means the teams are only four points apart at the break.

Meanwhile, there’s worrying news for Leinster, as Sexton departed the field holding his elbow and looking in some discomfort.

RTE’s George Hook suggests Leinster’s first-half rugby was pretty to watch, but not particularly effective, given that they’ve only scored one try.

The second half is underway, and Jonny Sexton is still on the pitch.

Another beautiful kick from Sexton puts his side deep into opposition territory.

The fly-half still looks somewhat uncomfortable, after an appallingly late tackle is made on him by Talei.

Leinster have spent a good bit of this second half in opposition territory, but their moves keep breaking down. It seems, at times, as if they’re trying to be all too elaborate and would surely benefit from a more direct style.

Meanwhile, Jordi Murphy has replaced Shane Jennings for the final half hour.

Terrific rugby from Leinster, which starts with a fantastic run from Fionn Carr, and ends with John Yapp being deservedly sin-binned for a deliberate infringement that prevents Leinster getting quick ball.

Leinster consequently have a penalty and opt for a five-metre scrum.

Another yellow card, this time for Sean Cox, owing to another deliberate infringement to temper a Leinster attack.

Leinster will surely take advantage against 13 men now.

In addition Cian Healy has been replaced by Heinke van der Merwe.

Despite two five-metre scrums, Leinster, worryingly from their perspective are ultimately driven out of play, allowing Edinburgh to clear and thus, the hosts fail to capitalise on their numerical advantage.

It has been far from a vintage performance from Joe Schmidt’s men, who have now lost three line-outs in this game.

TRY FOR LEINSTER!

Leinster 15-6 Edinburgh: Well-taken try from Leinster. Brian O’Driscoll gives a lovely pass to Fionn Carr, who breaks through one tackle, and accelerates powerfully towards the try line, before passing to Brendan Macken, who has the relatively simple task of diving over the line unchallenged.

Sexton then misses a difficult conversion.

Leinster 15-9 Edinburgh (61 minutes): An immediate response from the visitors, as Laidlaw kicks an impressive penalty from distance.

Moreover, the visitors are now back to 15 men.

TRY FOR LEINSTER!

Leinster 22-9 Edinburgh: We finally see the type of exceptional rugby that Leinster are capable of. A series of swift passes, before Murphy drives through and offloads to Macken, who runs over for his second try of the match.

It’s interesting that, for all their experience tonight, it’s younger players like Macken and Carr that have really impressed.

Sexton, before being taken off for Madigan, consummately kicks the conversion from the right hand corner of the pitch.

TRY FOR EDINBURGH!

Leinster 22-16 Edinburgh (71 mins): This game isn’t over yet, as Willem Nel drives over the line, to maintain the visitors’ feint hopes of getting something from this game.

Meanwhile, Laidlaw continues his 100 per cent kicking record, with another solidly executed conversion in front of the posts.

Leinster are deep in the Edinburgh 22 at the moment, looking to seal this win.

However, as I type, they concede a penalty and Edinburgh get the opportunity to clear.

Meanwhile, Brendan Macken is deservedly named Man of the Match by RTE, despite only coming on a substitute for D’Arcy.

FULL-TIME: LEINSTER 22-16 EDINBURGH

So a less than convincing performance from Leinster, but they can at least take positives from the performances of some of their younger players.

That’s it from me – I’m off to liveblog the Munster game. Thanks for reading and commenting.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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