Leinster finished their pre-season preparations with a 37-14 defeat away to Leicester Tigers in Welford Road on Friday night…

Speaking after the game, Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt said: “I wanted to have a look at a few of the younger guys and it was a funny one (because) as we were introducing our players, Leicester were bringing on international players like (Dan) Cole, (Dan) Hipkiss and Scott Hamilton, who came back on”.

“That was their fourth game and our second. It was their full squad and it wasn’t ours.

“I thought Simon Shawe battled well and Ed O’Donoghue did well on his debut.

“I felt it was similar to last week’s game, but we were better (this week). We showed a lot of character near the end but overall we weren’t as cohesive as I would have liked.

“We were a little underdone, but we stuck at it better tonight. We took a few knocks, but nothing too serious”.

Leicester were awarded a first minute penalty, slotted home by Toby Flood, to give the hosts a 3-0 lead but the advantage was short-lived as an offside infringement by the Tigers defence led to a Fergus McFadden penalty four minutes later.

England international Flood regained the lead for the Tigers with his second penalty after six minutes, before McFadden’s second successful strike in the 10th minute meant that the see-saw nature of the opening exchanges continued.

A good move by the hosts involving scrum-half Ben Youngs, number eight Thomas Waldrom and Ireland international Geordan Murphy asked questions of the Leinster defence and a crunching covering tackle by Eamonn Sheridan and Niall Morris on Alesana Tuilagi on the 12th minute mark halted a certain try.

From the resulting spillage Leinster rallied and a breakaway led to McFadden’s third successful kick of the night to push Leinster into a 9-6 lead.

Tuilagi again came close in the 18th minute but once more he was denied as the try-line beckoned. Some assured set piece play from the Leinster pack maintained the province’s momentum and separate bursts by Ian McKinley and Stephen Keogh threatened the Tigers in midfield.

Eventually Leinster’s pressure told and McKinley smartly gathered his own chipped kick to expertly touch down in the corner for the opening try of the game in the 28th minute. McFadden’s conversion attempt fell narrowly wide, but the five-pointer extended Leinster’s lead to 14-6.

The try sparked the hosts into life and from a scrum Tuilagi gathered a Youngs pass to crash through the middle and score, with Flood adding the points, to reduce Leinster’s lead to a single point. Isaac Boss sniped cleverly and the Leinster back-row worked tirelessly as they gained dominance, but on the stroke of half-time the Tigers were awarded a penalty try after a spell of pressure, which Flood slotted home, to give the English side a 20-14 advantage at the interval.

Leicester began the second half brightly and substitute Dan Hipkiss rounded the Leinster defence to score under the posts after 47 minutes, with Flood adding the conversion to extend their lead to 13 points.

Credit to the young Leinster side though who immediately raced up the field and debutant Ed O’Donoghue almost crashed over the line, but with the attacking momentum halted Leicester regrouped and replacement wing Manu Tuilagi joined his brother on the night’s try-scoring list.

Alesana Tuilagi added his second try of the night on 62 minutes to push the scoreline up to 37-14 as Leinster finished the closing quarter with a young side, which featured six Academy prospects, on the field.

The province battled bravely until the end but the Tigers’ experience was telling overall.

LEICESTER TIGERS SCORERS: A. Tuilagi (2 tries), Penalty try, D. Hipkiss, M. Tuilagi (1 try each), T. Flood (2 penalties, 3 conversions)

LEINSTER SCORERS: I. McKinley (1 try), F. McFadden (3 penalties)


15: Geordan Murphy CAPTAIN (Scott Hamilton, 57)
14: Scott Hamilton (Manu Tuilagi, ht)
13: Matt Smith (Dan Hipkiss, ht)
12: Anthony Allen (Billy Twelvetrees, 60)
11: Alesana Tuilagi
10: Toby Flood (Jeremy Staunton, 55)
9: Ben Youngs (James Grindal, 63)

1: Marcos Ayerza (Dan Cole, ht)
2: George Chuter (Rob Hawkins, 57)
3: Martin Castrogiovanni (Boris Stankovich, ht)
4: Calum Green (Ed Slater, 59)
5: George Skivington
6: Craig Newby (Tom Armes, 64)
7: Ben Woods
8: Thomas Waldrom (Dave Markham, 70)


15: Luke Fitzgerald (Ian Madigan, 50)
14: David Kearney (Michael Keating, 63)
13: Fergus McFadden
12: Eamonn Sheridan (Brendan Macken, 59)
11: Niall Morris
10: Ian McKinley (Isa Nacewa, 50)
9: Isaac Boss

1: Heinke van der Merwe (Jack McGrath, 73)
2: Richardt Strauss (Jason Harris-Wright, 60)
3: Simon Shawe (Stewart Maguire, 49)
4: Nathan Hines (Mariano Galarza, 53)
5: Devin Toner (Ed O’Donoghue, 29)
6: Dominic Ryan (Paul Ryan, 73)
7: Sean O’Brien CAPTAIN
8: Stephen Keogh (Ben Marshall, 55)

REFEREE: Andrew Small (RFU)