Leinster lost their six month unbeaten in controversial circumstances at the RDS on Friday night when they went down to a last minute try to the Ospreys who won 23-22.
With Captain Leo Cullen, Brian O’Driscoll and Brad Thorn all in the starting 15 many had expected the Heineken Cup champions to continue their unbeaten streak that had stretched back to last September.
The game had begun well for the home side with Fergus McFadden giving Leinster an early lead with a easy penalty, which Dan Bigger cancelled out moment later as both side felt each other out in the opening stages of the game.
Leinster had the better of the possession in the first half with Brian O’Driscoll making a few trademark sniping runs through the heart of the Ospreys defence, with every run been greeted with a huge roar from the huge home crowd.
The crowd really came alive on the half hour mark after fly half Ian Madigan reacted quickest of all after a poor Leinster line out had bounced favorably for the no 10 who burst clear of the Ospreys defence to give Leinster a well deserved first try of the game.
A penalty from Bigger close to half time brought the sides to within ten points of each other at the break with Leinster looking more than comfortable.
Another penalty from McFadden five minutes after the break pushed Leinster further ahead and it looked that it would take something extra special from the Ospreys to get something from the game.
To their credit the Welsh outfit refused to lie down and they came roaring back into the game in the 51st minute when George Stowers showed the Leinster defence a clean pair of heels to bring the game to 19-16.
Leinster looked to have grabbed their second try of the game when Heinke van der Merwe grounded the ball in a sea of bodies. The referee Peter Fitzgibbon went to the TMO who ruled against Leinster, much to the anger of the home supporters.
The penalties continued to come for Leinster, with McFadden putting the home side 22-16 to the good after a penalty that saw Jamie Hagan going off with what looked a serious injury on the hour mark.
That strike would prove to be Leinster’s last as the Ospreys began to turn the screw on the home side with some huge hits in defence and some excellent build up play by their forwards.
All that pressure had to tell and in the dying embers of the game hooker Richard Hibbard managed somehow to ground the ball. The TMO was once again called into action and much to the shock of the crowd the try was given even though it looked a very difficult call as the ball appeared to be blocked by Issac Boss.
Worse was to follow for Leinster as Dan Bigger’s conversion bounced on top of the bar and crept over. The ref ruled that the score should stand and that score edged the away side 23-22 ahead, a scoreline that they would hold on to to register a surprising win.
Speaking after the game a disappointed Leinster coach Joe Schmidt said of the controversial score “I’m really disappointed with the try decisions. It looked clear to us that Heinke had scored but they are the fine margins.
“I’m not sure of the ruling (of the conversion) the ref made a judgement call on the pitch and we have to live with that”