A young Leinster side kicked off their campaign with a fine 33-22 victory over Gloucester in Saturday’s Bank of Ireland friendly in Tallaght Stadium…

After an early spell of territorial pressure, Gloucester full-back Rob Cook kicked the visitors into an early 3-0 lead when he slotted home a penalty after three minutes.

Leinster defended well and regained the initiative and when a penalty opportunity arose for the hosts after nine minutes inside the visitors’ half, Ian Madigan opted to find touch which he did deep inside the Gloucester 22.

From the ensuing lineout the forwards drove deep inside the Gloucester 22 and John Cooney eventually found number eight Leo Auva’a who crashed over to score the game’s opening try.

Madigan slotted home the straightforward conversion to push his side into a 7-3 lead after 10 minutes.

In the 18th minute Gloucester regained the lead when left winger Ian Clark broke through the defence to touch down near the corner, with Cook adding the extras and give the English side a 10-7 advantage.

Leinster pressed and on the half hour mark Madigan capitalised on an overthrown Leinster lineout to scoop, gather and sprint clear of the Cherry and White’s rearguard to touch down under the posts. The out-half added the points to push the hosts into a 14-10 lead.

Gloucester threatened the Leinster line as the exciting first half drew to a close but the Leinster defence withstood the late pressure to take a four point lead into the half time interval.

The hosts began the second half brightly with Fionn Carr starting a good move which saw sub Dominic Ryan almost steal a try in the corner. But from the ensuing phase of play Madigan delivered an inch perfect cross-field kick to the hands of the onrushing Andrew Boyle who ran under the posts and touched down at the Square end of the ground, with Madigan again converting.

The topsy-turvy nature of the contest continued with flanker Peter Buxton touching down in the 48th minute after a wave of Gloucester pressure, though out-half Tim Taylor’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

As several substitutes prepared to enter the fray on the hour mark winger Carr almost got his name on the score-sheet when he kicked ahead and sprinted, but the Gloucester covering defence prevented the try.

Tom Denton, making his first competitive start since his summer move from Leeds Carnegie, soared to steal a lineout and from the resulting move – involving the likes of Carr and Madigan among others – Ryan eventually crossed the line for Leinster’s fourth try of the evening.

Moments later Darren Hudson scored the province’s fifth try when he darted clear to score to make it 33-15 and though sub prop Dan Murphy added a try with five minutes remaining – converted by Taylor – Leinster held on to seal a fine victory in an entertaining ground-breaking contest in Tallaght.

LEINSTER SCORERS: I. Madigan (1 try, 4 conversions), L. Auva’a, A. Boyle, D. Ryan, D. Hudson (1 try each)

GLOUCESTER SCORERS: I Clark, P. Buxton, D. Murphy (1 try each), R. Cook (1 penalty, 1 conversion), T. Taylor (1 conversion)


15: Darren Hudson (Luke McGrath, 76 mins)
14: Andrew Boyle (Sam Coghlan-Murray, 58 mins)
13: Collie O’Shea (Brendan Macken, 70 mins)
12: Noel Reid
11: Fionn Carr
10: Ian Madigan
9: John Cooney

1: Jack McGrath (Jack O’Connell, 58 mins)
2: Aaron Dundon (Tom Sexton, ht) (Jack McGrath, 79 mins)
3: Jamie Hagan (Martin Moore, 58 mins)
4: Damian Browne (Ben Marshall, 55 mins)
5: Tom Denton
6: Ben Marshall (Dominic Ryan, ht)
7: Shane Jennings CAPTAIN (Jordi Murphy, 64 mins)
8: Leo Auva’a

REPLACEMENTS NOT USED: Cathal Marsh, James Tracy


Rob Cook; Shane Monahan, Tim Molenaar, Billy Twelvetrees, Ian Clark; Tim Taylor, Dave Lewis; Yann Thomas, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight; Tom Savage, Alex Brown CAPTAIN; Peter Buxton, Andy Hazell, Sione Kalamafoni

REPLACEMENTS: Koree Britton, Dan Murphy, Dario Chistolini, Will James, Rob Langley, Gareth Evans, Dan Robson, Martyn Thomas, James Simpson-Daniel

REFEREE: Alain Rolland (IRFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Paul Haycock, Nigel Correll (both IRFU)