Leinster scrape past Edinburgh at the RDS

Leinster won a narrow 19-18 victory over Edinburgh at the RDS in the Magners League on Saturday night.


Edinburgh struck for tries in each half from Tim Visser and Chris Paterson, but Leinster full-back Nacewa kicked four penalties and converted Andrew Conway’s first Magners League try for the decisive contribution.


Leinster were missing most of their internationals due to Ireland’s training camp this week, their much-changed starting line-up including half-backs Ian Madigan and Paul O’Donohoe.


Edinburgh coach Rob Moffat gave Alex Blair, the youngest of the Blair brothers, his debut at out-half, and Argentinian lock Esteban Lozada was a late inclusion for Fraser McKenzie.


Leinster saw plenty of ball in the opening half but Edinburgh carried more of a try-scoring threat. After Nacewa had booted the hosts in front, some quick thinking from Mike Blair opened the way for Visser to strike.


Leinster lost possession at a midfield ruck and noticing a mismatch on the far left wing, scrum half Blair dinked a kick over the top for the big Dutch winger to chase down. Visser got to it ahead of the covering Richardt Strauss, dribbled it on and scored in the corner.


Paterson missed the conversion and Edinburgh captain Roddy Grant was punished by Nacewa for coming in at the side of a ruck, briefly restoring Leinster’s lead.


Space opened up again for Edinburgh when Alex Grove broke through a gap on the right and almost linked with Jim Thompson for a try. The Scots had to settle for a penalty, Paterson doing the necessary after Mike Ross infringed at a scrum.


A darting run from Madigan, with Conway on his shoulder, saw Leinster click into gear. Their forwards were held up over the try-line, but with a penalty advantage Nacewa kicked them into a 9-8 lead for half-time.


The former Auckland Blues ace missed a long range penalty just before the break, but it was his sidestepping counter attack which drove Leinster on for their only try, six minutes into the second half.


A quick lineout and series of rucks followed before ex-Edinburgh lock Nathan Hines popped the ball to the onrushing Conway who beat Alex Blair’s first-up tackle and cruised over to the left of the posts.


Nacewa’s conversion was cancelled out by a penalty from Paterson, after newcomer Blair probed on a pacy diagonal run.


However, the game opened up for Leinster again when replacement prop David Young was sin-binned for hands in the ruck, just seconds after being introduced.


Replays showed the culprit was actually hooker Ross Ford, but it did not matter as Nacewa landed the resulting penalty for a 19-11 lead and the hosts looked primed to take further advantage.


To their credit, Edinburgh’s defence held firm and they even snaffled a try while Young was off. Ford muscled past the otherwise excellent Strauss and Mike Blair’s swift pass from the subsequent ruck sent Paterson cantering in under the posts.


Paterson, who switched to out-half following Alex Blair’s withdrawal, converted his own try to make it a one-point game with a full quarter left to play.


Territorially, Leinster had the better of the closing stages. A couple of knock ons spoilt promising moves and defences reigned supreme in a nail-biting climax.


Edinburgh could not get back into scoring range, their best chance was ruined by a ruck offence from replacement Mark Robertson. There were errors from both sides, but Leinster held their nerve despite Nacewa sending a late penalty wide of the uprights.


Final Score Leinster (9) 19 Edinburgh (8) 18


Scorers


Leinster
Try: Conway
Con:Nacewa
Pens: Nacewa 4


Edinburgh
Tries: Visser, Paterson
Cons: Paterson
Pens: Paterson 2


Teams


Leinster: I Nacewa, S Horgan, E O’Malley, F McFadden,

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