Leinster earned a gritty bonus point 34-23 victory over a determined Cardiff Blues in Saturday evening’s Magners League clash at the RDS…Schmidt and Nacewa Post Match Reaction…
Speaking after the game, Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt said: “We created a few chances in the second half, but every time they attacked they seemed to have numbers out wide. If we take our opportunities it will take the pressure off us. I’m really pleased to get the win and I felt that the guys coming off the bench gave us that little bit extra.
“It was difficult for Ian Madigan to come on and play so late into the build up but I thought he did well and credit to him for stepping into the breach. If you had offered me a bonus point before the game I would have scrambled over hot coals (for it)!
“The bonus point was a bit fortuitous at the end but I’m delighted to be on the blue side of a win, for the first time. I thought that we showed nous and a lot of character out there and it was overall a really good effort.”
Bank of Ireland Man of the Match Isa Nacewa added: “We’re delighted to get win. Obviously it was a bit disappointing to let them back in during the second half, but thankfully we held on and it was an important step forward for us.”
Leinster began brightly in wet conditions underfoot and a clever break by Isaac Boss found the supporting Shane Jennings who broke free to touch down after 3 minutes. Nacewa added the points to make it 7-0 and the impressive winger benefited from some excellent vision by Richardt Strauss and Luke Fitzgerald to score into the North Stand end of the ground.
His conversion doubled the advantage and though Dan Parks replied with penalties on 12 and 18 minutes, Nacewa responded with a brace of his own on 30 and 36 minutes to give Leinster a 20-6 half time lead.
Cardiff rallied in the third quarter, grabbing tries through Bradley Davies and Richie Rees, and a penalty from Scottish out-half Parks edged the Welsh region in front at 23-20.
But Leinster’s character shone through and a wonderful break by substitute Cian Healy found the onrushing Fergus McFadden who powered over to help Leinster regain the lead in the 69th minute.
At 27-23 the game was still in the balance but Ian Madigan deftly weaved through the Cardiff defence in the closing minute of normal time to seal the bonus point victory after some good work from replacement scrum-half Eoin Reddan.
LEINSTER SCORERS: I. Nacewa, (1 try, 2 penalties, 4 conversions), S. Jennings, F. McFadden, I. Madigan (1 try each)
CARDIFF SCORERS: B. Davies, R. Rees (1 try each), D. Parks (3 penalties, 2 conversions)
15: Luke Fitzgerald
14: Shane Horgan (David Kearney, 48)
13: Brian O’Driscoll (Eoin O'Malley, 60)
12: Fergus McFadden (Brian O'Driscoll, 73-79 blood)
11: Isa Nacewa
10: Ian Madigan
9: Isaac Boss (Eoin Reddan, 53)
1: Heinke van der Merwe (Cian Healy, 60)
2: Richardt Strauss (John Fogarty, 55)
3: Mike Ross (Simon Shawe, 66)
4: Nathan Hines
5: Ed O’Donoghue (Mariano Galarza, 77)
6: Sean O’Brien
7: Shane Jennings CAPTAIN (Dominic Ryan, 60)
8: Jamie Heaslip
15: Chris Czekaj
14: Richard Mustoe
13: Casey Laulala
12: Dafydd Hewitt
11: Tom James
10: Dan Parks
9: Richie Rees
1: Tom Davies
2: T Rhys Thomas
3: Scott Andrews
4: Bradley Davies
5: Deiniol Jones
6: Michael Paterson
7: Sam Warburton
8: Xavier Rush CAPTAIN
16: Rhys Williams
17: John Yapp
19: Fa’ao Filise
20: James Down
21: Ben White
22: Lloyd Williams
23: Ceri Sweeney
24: Gavin Evans
REFEREE: Andy Macpherson (ARU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Simon McDowell, Jonathan Peak (both IRFU), 4th OFFICIAL: Paul Haycock (ARLB), 5th OFFICIAL: Simon Rogan (ARLB), TMO: Tom Redmond (IRFU)
BANK OF IRELAND MAN OF THE MATCH: Isa Nacewa