A last minute penalty from Fergus McFadden gave Leinster a narrow 16-13 win against a stubborn Scarlets side at a wet and windy RDS on Friday night.
In a game that will be remembered more for the handling errors that bookmarked a poor performance from the Heineken Cup champions, it was McFadden that maintained his sides unbeaten sequence in the Rabo Pro12.
It was the away side that started much the better in the first half, with outhalf Stephen Jones putting them into a deserved lead after six minutes after Leinster gave the first of many penalties away.
Jones along with Liam Williams looked lively for the away side and they took the game to Leinster in the opening stages of the contest.
McFadden drew Leinster level soon after with his own penalty, but it was the away side that would get the opening try after 22 minutes.
After some good player from the Scarlets forwards, wing Dan Newton skipped past a number of Leinster tackles to put his side into a clear lead and silence the home crowd to boot.
Leinster tried to come back into the game, but a combination of solid defence from the away side and poor handling and poor decision making at times from Leinster combined to send Scarlets 10-3 ahead at the break.
The half time interval helped Leinster and the home side were quick out of the traps and came right back into the game two minutes into the second half when Fergus McFadden danced around a couple of Scarlets defenders to bring the sides level.
With the conditions deterioration by the minute both sides struggled in the conditions with possession exchanging hands with a huge amount of frequency.
Coming into the last ten minutes it looked like Leinster’s game to win. A mixture of poor hands and good defence threatened to stop Leinster.
With the clock ticking into the red zone, the game looked destined for a draw. However a last minute penalty decision went Leinster’s way and McFadden, cold as ice, split the posts to send the home fans away from the RDS in raptures.
Speaking after the game Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt said “Conditions made things difficult to really get the tempo into the game.”
Schmidt was also pleased with the performance of Fergus McFadden saying “Fergus gave a really gritty performance I thought tonight. He, along with Eoin O’Malley really dug deep for us tonight. It was great that they got through it.”