RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster earn No 1 seeding in play-offs

Last Updated: 10/05/14 10:07pm

  • Share:
Dave Kearney: Leinster wing scored second-half try

Dave Kearney: Leinster wing scored second-half try

Sky Bet

Leinster finished top of the RaboDirect Pro12 table for the fourth time in seven years and will enter the play-offs as top seeds, but they were made to sweat in an uninspiring 15-13 victory over eighth-placed Edinburgh.

The Irish province succeeded in winning their final home game of the regular season at the RDS Arena, but they will want to forget this error-strewn encounter as Edinburgh, who were hammered by Munster last week, finished just two points in arrears in Dublin.

Two Greig Laidlaw first-half penalties gave the Scots a 6-5 lead at the interval, in-between young flanker Jordi Murphy's try, but Leinster, turning with the wind behind them, had the better of the second period.

Jimmy Gopperth landed a penalty and converted Dave Kearney's 57th-minute touch down to get Leinster over the finish line, albeit with Tim Visser's converted try making them sweat right until the end.

O'Brien return

Importantly for both Leinster and Ireland, Sean O'Brien had a successful return from shoulder surgery with the fit-again back rower making his first appearance since December.

Injury-hit Edinburgh lost winger Sam Beard to an early knock, but hit the front thanks to an opening penalty from the Gloucester-bound Laidlaw.

Leinster replied within four minutes, Gordon D'Arcy and Dave Kearney combining to good effect on the left wing and Murphy spun out of Dave Denton's challenge to plunge over from close range.

Gopperth missed the conversion and after Richardt Strauss unfortunately had to hobble off, Leinster had a let-off when Carl Bezuidenhout's try was ruled out for a forward pass from Visser.

Having leaked 55 points to Munster, Edinburgh looked a very different team here and frustrated the hosts for much of the first 40 minutes.

The Scots were severely hampered by two more injuries as No 8 Denton and centre Matt Scott were forced off in quick succession.

But they dug their heels in and pressed from turnover ball with prop Willem Nel just held up by Leinster's retiring duo Leo Cullen and Brian O'Driscoll.

Edinburgh managed to edge in front for the break as O'Brien infringed at a ruck close to the Leinster line and Laidlaw tapped over the three points.

Rob Kearney was central to Leinster's fast-paced start when play resumed, Edinburgh clinging on despite Gopperth and full-back Kearney both going close.


Gopperth's 51st-minute penalty was all the home side had to show for a concerted spell of pressure, but the second try eventually came at the end of the third quarter.

Gopperth's inviting pass sent Dave Kearney darting past two covering defenders to score just to the right of the posts, with the conversion quickly added for 15-6.

There was no sense of Edinburgh surrendering though and a smart break from talisman Laidlaw released Visser for a well-worked try in response. The scrum-half's conversion made it a two-point game again.

Edinburgh remained a live threat during the final 14 minutes, hunting for their final Dublin win since 2005, but off-colour Leinster held firm to secure home advantage in the semi-finals where they will face provincial rivals Ulster.

  • Share:


RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 Round 22

Jonathan Davies: Scarlets centre leaving for Clermont Auvergne

Davies departs in style

Jonathan Davies was given a winning send-off in his Scarlets farewell as his side beat Cardiff Blues 27-15.

Jason Tovey: Kicked two penalties and two conversions for the Dragons

Dragons sneak past Treviso

Newport Gwent Dragons finally got a victory in the RaboDirect Pro12 as they battled to beat a stubborn Treviso 20-19.

Stuart Hogg: Touched down for a try inside a minute

Glasgow put Zebre to sword

Glasgow Warriors beat Zebre 54-0 to secure their first-ever home berth for a play-off quarter-final.

Most Popular


International impact

International impact

Did your Premier League club's star man return from international duty on a high or a low?

Sky Cricket Podcast

Sky Cricket Podcast

Jacques Kallis and VVS Laxman join us to look ahead to the IPL and reflect on their stellar careers.

The all-new World Cup

The all-new World Cup

Fifty-over cricket was reborn in 2015 as records tumbled. Benedict Bermange charts the evolution...