Dublin: 15°C Tuesday 27 July 2021


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WE WERE LIVE from the RDS as Leinster looked to hit top gear against Wasps in Pool 2 of the Champions Cup.

Matt O’Connor’s side had been inconsistent this season, but the same could be said for their English opposition. Both sides boasted a 50% winning record in their respective league campaigns.

Harlequins moved to the top of Pool 2 with a solid victory over Castres on Friday, and Leinster wwere keen to notch four points before they travel to France next weekend.

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

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Hello and welcome to the RDS, from where we’ll be bringing you updates on Leinster’s attempts to get off to a winning start in Pool 2.

So far this season, Matt O’Connor’s men have been inconsistent but European competition is likely to at least bring about peak levels of emotional intensity. Do they have the smart game plan to back that up?

How do you see this game going? Will plucky, ambitious Wasps cause an upset in Dublin? Let us know your predictions.

Here’s the Leinster team, as was named on Friday. It wouldn’t be a major surprise to see a late change or two from Matt O’Connor.  For now, Leinster say there are no changes!

LEINSTER: Ian Madigan; Zane Kirchner, Gordon D’Arcy, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Michael Bent; Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy; Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Jamie Heaslip (capt.).

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Kane Douglas, Jack Conan, Isaac Boss, Mick McGrath, Luke Fitzgerald.

And here’s how Wasps line up. They lost James Haskell, their captain, to illness yesterday. A major blow.

WASPS: Andrea Masi; Christian Wade, Elliott Daly, Alapati Leiua, Sailosi Tagicakibau; Andy Goode, Joe Simpson; Matt Mullan (capt.), Carlo Festuccia, Lorenzo Cittadini; Joe Launchbury, Bradley Davies; Ashley Johnson, Guy Thompson, Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: Tom Lindsay, Simon McIntyre, Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Sam Jones, Charlie Davies, Rob Miller, Chris Bell.

There’s the Leinster coaching team of Leo Cullen, Marco Caputo, Richie Murphy and Matt O’Connor.

How have you found their game plan this season? Some Leinster fans out there are certainly unhappy with the style of play Leinster are working under.

Leo Cullen, Marco Caputo, Richie Murphy and Matt O'Connor Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Jamie Heaslip and Matt Mullan have performed the coin toss here at the RDS. Mullan takes over from Haskell as Wasps captain for the evening.

We’re delighted to report that the sun is out and looks like it’s here to stay. Wet surface from the shower earlier, but conditions are really nice now.

Matt Mullan and Jamie Heaslip with Leighton Hodges at the coin toss Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Brian O’Driscoll back on the RDS pitch! But not for the reason Leinster fans might have hoped. The former centre is back with BT Sport as an analyst.

Here he is chatting to Leo Cullen about the good times…

Leo Cullen talkes to Brian O'Driscoll Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Both team flying through their warm-ups at present as the RDS crowd packs out. Sun shining over the Dublin grounds as Leo Cullen oversees Leinster’s scrummaging and Richie Murphy works the backs.

Leinster head into the sheds to a warm reception. Wasps have been back inside for some minutes now.

Applause in the RDS as Luke Fitzgerald’s name is read out on the Leinster team sheet. How good would it be to see him back on the pitch?

Probably Leinster’s most incisive back in last season’s Heineken Cup pool stages. Do you see his future on the left wing or at outside centre?

Leinster supporters Luke Lysaght-Walsh, Ken Walsh and Luke Fitzpatrick at the RDS.

Luke Lysaght-Walsh, Ken Walsh and Luke Fitzpatrick Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Last chance to get your prediction in ahead of this game, with just minutes until kick-off here at the RDS.

For what it’s worth, we’re calling a Leinster win by a 5-point margin. Let us know what you’re thinking as Leinster come onto the pitch…

We’re going to have a minute’s silence here…

1 minute - Andy Goode gets us going at the RDS.

1 minute - Nice, calm exit from Leinster to get started, with Reddan finding a decent touch up the right.

1 minute - A bit of early treatment for Dominic Ryan there, but he’s good to continue. First scrum coming up!

2 minutes - Penalty to Leinster! Bent looks to have come out on top on that occasion, good start. Leinster go up the touchline to the Wasps 22…

3 minutes - Leinster building momentum, getting close now!

4 minutes - Gopperth has a dart…

4 minutes - Penalty to Leinster under the sticks after some serious pressure five metres out from the Wasps line. Very direct from Leinster, with switches off Gopperth and short carries off Reddan. Wasps just about hang on and Madigan will take an easy shot. That was a 20-phase attack from Leinster…

PENALTY! Leinster 3-0 Wasps (Madigan ’6)

7 minutes - Another good exit from Leinster, very composed. Here come Wasps on the attack now…

8 minutes - Zane Kirchner hacks ahead a dropped Wasps pass, but it runs into touch! Unlucky for the South African wing. This has been a good start for Leinster.

9 minutes - Madigan with the break on the counter-attack! But then Sean Cronin knocks the ball forward as play moves away to the left on the halfway line. Lovely play from Madigan, and a reminder of what he can bring at 15.

10 minutes - Wasps power through Michael Bent at the scrum, but no penalty for the English side. Andy Goode the places a lovely kick over the head of Fanning into the right corner.

Leinster lose the line-out…

11 minutes - Penalty to Wasps after that botched Leinster line-out. Cronin overthrew Toner, allowing Ashley Johnson to rumble close to the line. Wasps then made a hash of their attempt to move the ball wide to the left inside the Leinster 22, but Hodges brings them back for a Leinster offside.

Goode will have a go from the right of the posts, 20 metres out…

PENALTY! Leinster 3-3 Wasps (Goode ’13)

15 minutes - Big turnover from Wasps as Leinster attack in their 22. Johnson was key in there, with Launchbury leading the charge too as they count-rucked right through over the ball.

Cronin has now thrown crooked into the latest line-out after Wasps cleared their lines. Really poor opening 15 minutes from the hooker.

17 minutes - Leinster get a good drive on in the scrum, but Wasps get the ball clear through No. 8 Nathan Hughes. O’Connor’s men then infringe at the breakdown and Good fires the penalty to within 10 metres of Leinster’s line, on the left…

18 minutes - Leinster hold up the maul and win the turnover! Ryan wrestled his way in that time to gets his hands on the ball. Hodges awards the scrum to O’Connor’s side.

Big test for Bent and co. here, but they survive. Reddan again with a nice clearing kick from the base of the next ruck.

21 minutes - Penalty to Wasps after a thrilling passage of play! Leinster made a steal through Jack McGrath 35 metres from their own line, then shifted the ball to Ruddock wide on the right.

He was then smashed by Masi on the touchline, allowing Wasps to regain possession and counter through Hughes. Leinster looked to compete for another steal, but McCarthy fails to roll away and Hodges pings Leinster.

Quick injury break here and Wasps have made a substitution.

Andrea Masi is off for Rob Miller.

22 minutes - Goode lines this up from 36 metres out…

PENALTY! Leinster 3-6 Wasps (Goode ’22)

TRY! Leinster 3-11 Wasps (Leiua ’22)

23 minutes – The big Wasps centre picks off Noel Reid’s intended inside pass to race clear form 60 metres!

CONVERSION! Leinster 3-13 Wasps (Goode ’25)

25 minutes - Leinster shellshocked by that. They had counter-attacked through Madigan, who drew a high tackle from Leiua and won the penalty for Leinster. Reddan quick tapped it and sent Ruddock surging towards the 22, but then Reid’s little pass inside to Fanning was read like a book by the Samoan international.

He had the pace to finish from well inside his own half.

27 minutes – Wasps attack again, but Ruddock wins the turnover this time. The English side are loose around the breakdown. Dai Young’s men win it back, but the Simpson kicks directly into touch.

Line-out Leinster just on the halfway, on the right-hand side…

28 minutes – Rory McIlory is here at the RDS this evening:

Rory McIlroy chats with the injured Rob Kearney before the game Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

TRY! Leinster 8-13 Wasps (Fanning ’28)

29 minutes - That’s better from Leinster! Big carry from Heaslip in midfield puts Wasps in trouble and then with numbers up, Gopperth grubbers down the left for Fanning to run onto from 25 metres out. Simple finish.

30 minute - Madigan well wide to the right with that effort at the conversion.

31 minutes - Kirchner with a crucial turnover for Leinster after Leiua makes a big break in the middle of the pitch. That same weakness around the fringes for Leinster, but their South Africa wing gets them out of trouble.

33 minutes - Leinster nearly give up another breakaway try as a pass goes to deck out on the right and Miller nearly gets on the end of it. The ball rolls into touch, fortunately for O’Connor’s men. Shaky skills from the home team…

Off to the TMO! It looks like a beautiful score from Wade!

TRY! Leinster 8-18 Wasps (Wade ’34)

Sensational from Wade as he dummies and stands up Madigan on the right touchline then beats Kirchner in a foot race to the line! Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

CONVERSION! Leinster 8-20 Wasps (Goode ’35)

Superb effort from the right-hand touchline.

36 minutes – Leinster win a penalty on the right, near halfway and they bang it into touch near the Wasps 22…

37 minutes – Good carry from McGrath, then Reid dances past a tackle…

TMO again! This time for Leinster after Cronin surged to the line.

38 minutes - No, Hodges hasn’t gone for the TMO! He’s called the scrum to Leinster, happy that it was held up. Good carry from Cronin, with Heaslip and Ryan making big yards before that.

Wasps hold them out for now…

39 minutes - Scrum to Leinster now, five metres out to the right of the posts…

39 minutes - Scrum penalty to Leinster. They’re going to have a shot at goal, even though Jack McGrath insisted they should scrum again.

PENALTY! Leinster 11-20 Wasps (Madigan ’40)

HALF TIME: Leinster 11-20 Wasps

So Leinster trail by nine at the break, thanks to an intercept score by Leiua and a wonder try from Wade. That really was a brilliant score from the right wing.

What have you made of proceedings so far?

Wow, that Christian Wade try was just sensational. He stood up Madigan and changed direction at incredible pace. Fanning and Kirchner were then left in his dust. Best try we’ve seen live for some time!

The teams are back out, just as the rain starts falling at the RDS!

41 minutes - Madigan restarts the game!

42 minutes - Leinster have the first attack, but Wasps win an excellent choke tackle out on the right.

42 minutes - TheScore.ie reader tyger tyger is keeping the faith as Leinster surge into the Wasps half:

Leinster can still win this! I firmly believe that we’re possibly less shit than Wasps

45 minutes - D’Arcy just dribbles a strange grubber into touch on the left. Leinster now getting quick ball and that’s poor use of the ball.

52 minutes - Leinster on the attack now! Big chance…

52 minutes - We lost wifi connection from some minutes there, but we’re back and Leinster are back on the attack! Inside the Wasps 22 now…

TRY! Leinster 16-20 Wasps (Fanning ’52)

53 minutes - Much better from Leinster, who hammer away at the Wasps line, before flinging the ball to Fanning on the right. He dances past a despairing tackle for his second!

CONVERSION! Leinster 18-20 Wasps (Madigan ’54)

55 minutes - A nicely-poised game now as we head for the last quarter, and Wasps are making big yards around the fringes. Simpson snipes! Leinster looking weak in that area once again.

56 minutes - Penalty to Wasps! No release in the tackle from D’Arcy as he looks for a steal on Wade. That’s poor decision-making from a man of his experience.

Goode to have a shot. 30 metres out, wide on the right…

57 minutes - That’s fallen short away to the left!

58 minutes – Leinster counter from a poor Goode kick…

59 minutes - Wasps win the turnover inside their own 22, and the RDS crowd are not happy! That was Johnson and it looked clean to us! Leinster just slipping away on that crucial breakdown battle at present.

60 minutes - We’re in total agreement with Ned in the comments section here, Heaslip having a stormer. A lot more carrying with O’Brien and Healy missing, but it suits the No. 8.

Ned: Heaslip having a good game.Best  I’ve seen him play in a while. The ref isn’t great, up there with O’Driscoll’s commentary.

61 minutes - Big break from Cronin!

TMO! For a potential Leinster try!

61 minutes - Dominic Ryan has gone close, stretching out for the line… Big call here!

61 minutes - Still we wait…

61 minutes - Still no decision…

TRY! Leinster 23-20 Wasps (Ryan ’61)

CONVERSION! Leinster 25-20 Wasps (Madigan ’61)

62 minutes - It was a great moment of interplay from Reddan and Cronin that led to that score, as the scrum-half sent the hooker bursting through on a clever short pass. But he’s now been hooked!

Isaac Boss on for Eoin Reddan.

65 minutes - Wasps have replaced Good with Chris Bell, but they are being pinned back in their own territory by some ferocious Leinster work in the tight. O’Connor’s forwards win the put in to the scrum with some aggression in holding up the maul.

66 minutes - Huge break from D’Arcy off a lovely Boss pass! He bursts through the centre and hits Madigan, who passes to Kircher. The Springbok cuts back inside, then Fanning gets held up on the line.

Put in to Leinster five metres out at the scrum!

67 minutes - There’s a shot of Fanning crossing for his second a little earlier.

Darragh Fanning scores a try Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

68 minutes - But brilliant defence this time from Wasps, with Johnson holding up Jamie Heaslip after a really powerful shunt by his pack at the scrum!

70 minutes - Leinster dominating possession and territory at this point, with Kirchner the latest to go close. He was stopped metres short on the right, and Wasps have the chance to clear.

Back comes Madigan on kick return.

72 minutes - Penalty to Wasps to halt that attack! Wade chips in at the breakdown with a steal. Wasps kick up to halfway and will go looking for a score.

Johnson carries…

73 minutes - Now it’s Leinster who force the turnover. Heaslip’s hit knocks the ball loose and Leinster get the put in to the scrum inside their own 10-metre line.

74 minutes - Leinster back inside the Wasps 22, but Noel Reid coughs up possession. Hesitant heading into contact and the English side will build from the back again…

76 minutes - Wasps loose in possession themselves now though, and Hodges awards the scrum to Leinster bang on halfway. Will they get another chance to grab the win?

78 minutes - For a second it looks like Leinster will streak away, but Hodges calls it back for a forward pass! Gaskell thought he had sent his backs running clear, but Launchbury’s pass was forward.

79 minutes - Free kick to Leinster as Hodges sees an early shove! Heaslip carries again.

80 minutes - Leinster winding the clock down here…

FULL TIME! Leinster 25-20 Wasps!

That’s it, all four points for Leinster as Jamie Heaslip is deservedly named man of the match. He was superb in attack, carrying powerfully throughout.

What did you make of Leinster’s performance? Let us know.

That’s all we have time for on the liveblog, but stay tuned for reaction and analysis. Thanks for joining us!

About the author:

Murray Kinsella