Leinster Rugby secured their second consecutive RaboDirect Pro12 title with a 14-12 victory over Glasgow at the RDS. Brian O’Driscoll’s last professional game for the Province last just eight mintues after an ankle injury saw Ian Madigan replace him at centre as his magnificent career came to a premature end.
When Rob Kearney fluffing a fly-kick on two minnutes, Mike Ross collected but was adjudged by Nigel Owens to be osside. Glasgow’s out-half, Finn Russell the converted from 40 metres three minutes in. After all the hype and build-up to final game, O’Driscoll then departed with the calf injury which has troubled his final season.
It got worse for Leinster three minutes later when Mike McCarthy’s high tackle was penalised from the left touchline with the help of the right upright giving Glasgow a 0-6 lead on 12 minutes.
Despite being dominant, Glasgow saw knock-ons cost them in the final third. It took just a slight chance for Leinster to make the breakthrough and Zane Kirchner crossed the whitewash after Sean Cronin managed to hold onto the ball in the tackle in centre. When the ball was spread wide, Sean Maitland rushed up and with the pass going to Kirchner, he had the simplest of tasks to touch down 16 minutes in. Gopperth converted for a 7-6 lead.
Leinster might have gotten in a second-time minutes later, but after Eoin Reddan made the break, his pass was knocked on by Sean Cronin. In a game where chances were a minimum it burst to life in the final six minutes of the half. First Russell converted his third penalty for a 7-9 lead, before Gordon D’Arcy made the break up to halfway, and a pass back inside saw Kirchner break through the Glasgow rearguard. His offload to Shane Jennings on his shoulder saw Jennings print over for a try which Gopperth converted for a 14-9 lead. Russell converted a penalty on half-time to leave them just two points behind, 14-12 at the break.
Cian Healy was denied a try in the opening minutes of the second-half but when Niko Matawalu dove for the line he knocked on and Leinster counter-attacked from their own deadball line. Gopperth made the initial break and Ian Madigan almost finished the move, kicking on and was denied as Tom Seymour kicked the ball dead.
Leinster got a five metre scrum and won the penalty after Moray Low dropped the scrum with Leinster driving forward. Gopperth made it a five point game, 17-12 before the hour. Gopperth converted a penalty with 15 minutes to go, stretching their lead to eight, before they blew Glasgow away in the final 5 minutes. Kirchner and D’Arcy both got in on the scoring action late on with Madigan converting as Leinster strolled to a 34-12.
15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy,11 Zane Kirchner, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan.
1 Cian Healy, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Mike Ross, 4 Devin Toner, 5 Mike McCarthy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Shane Jennings, 8 Jamie Heaslip (captain).
16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath for Healy 66, 18 Martin Moore for Mike Ross on 49, 19 Leo Cullen for McCarthy on 60, 20 Sean O’Brien for Shane Jennings on 54, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan for O’Driscoll on 8, 23 Darragh Fanning.
15 Peter Murchie, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Chris Cusiter.
1 Gordon Reid, 2 Dougie Hall, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Jonny Gray, 5 Al Kellock (Captain), 6 Rob Harley, 7 Chris Fusaro, 8 Josh Strauss.
16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Moray Low for Walsh on 54, 19 Tim Swinson for Kellock on 49, 20 Leone Nakarawa, 21 Niko Matawalu for Cusiter on 44, 22 Ruaridh Jackson for Seymour on 38, 23 Sean Lamont for