There was disappointment for Leinster in Saturday night’s Magners League Grand Final when they fell to a 17-12 defeat to the Ospreys in the RDS…Michael Cheika Post Match Reaction…

Speaking after the game departing Leinster Coach Michael Cheika said: “Rugby’s not a fairytale and there are no guarantees. The better team won today. They took us early and we fought back and even though we weren’t playing well we hung in there til the very end.

“I thought that we actually went alright in the first part of the first half and we turned the ball over a few times, but they had a couple of moments when they showed their class. I’m proud to be part of a team that never lies down. We have shared our successes and our disappointments and even though life is hard sometimes, it’s not cruel.

“I’m lucky to have been part of a great club and even though there’s disappointment, it won’t dent my memories of the time (spent) here. It was very testing in the dressing-room because all of the guys are going their separate ways, but I have done the best I can.”

In a see-saw game it took a superb piece of work from the Ospreys to open the scoring after 19 minutes when Tommy Bowe capitalised on some excellent incisive work by Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar and finally centre Andrew Bishop. Biggar added the points and the visitors took a deserved 7-0 lead.

Two minutes later Jonathan Sexton opened his account for the evening with a penalty after a high tackle on the influential Rob Kearney to reduce the advantage to four points, but on the half hour mark Leinster suffered a blow when Kevin McLaughlin left the field with what appeared to be a serious looking knee injury.

His replacement Stephen Keogh carried the ball effectively in his place, with Gordon D’Arcy impressing greatly with his tenacity and bravery with the ball in hand. Just as Leinster appeared to be holding the advantage, Lee Byrne struck in the 35th minute, with Biggar again converting, to give the Ospreys a 14-3 half time lead.

Sexton kicked a 44th minute penalty, which Biggar replied three minutes later, before Sexton kicked two more penalties on 61 and 70 minutes to bring Leinster to within a converted try of sealing the Magners League title.

Alas, though, it wasn’t to be and the Ospreys held on to seal the title in front of a packed house in the RDS.

LEINSTER SCORER: J. Sexton (4 penalties)

OSPREYS SCORERS: T. Bowe, L. Byrne (1 try), D. Biggar (2 conversions, 1 penalty)

LEINSTER:

15: Rob Kearney
14: Shane Horgan
13: Brian O'Driscoll
12: Gordon D'Arcy
11: Isa Nacewa
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Eoin Reddan

1: Stan Wright
2: John Fogarty
3: CJ van der Linde (Cian Healy)
4: Nathan Hines
5: Malcolm O'Kelly
6: Kevin McLaughlin (Stephen Keogh) (Trevor Hogan)
7: Shane Jennings CAPTAIN (Richardt Strauss)
8: Jamie Heaslip

REPLACEMENTS NOT USED: Paul O'Donohoe, Fergus McFadden, Girvan Dempsey

OSPREYS:

15: Lee Byrne
14: Tommy Bowe
13: Andrew Bishop
12: James Hook
11: Shane Williams
10: Dan Biggar
9: Mike Phillips

1: Paul James
2: Huw Bennett
3: Adam Jones
4: Alun Wyn Jones
5: Jonathan Thomas
6: Jerry Collins
7: Marty Holah
8: Ryan Jones CAPTAIN

REPLACEMENTS:

16: Ed Shervington
17: Ryan Bevington
18: Ian Gough
19: Filo Tiatia
20: Jamie Nutbrown
21: Gareth Owen
22: Nikki Walker

REFEREE: Chris White (RFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Andy Macpherson (SRU), David Changleng (SRU), 4th OFFICIAL: Leo Colgan (IRFU), 5th OFFICIAL: Dermot Moloney (IRFU), TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)