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Leaders Leinster Move Four Points Clear

A brace of first half tries helped Leinster extend their lead at the top of the Magners League table as they got the better of former leaders Glasgow Warriors in their rescheduled fixture at the RDS.

Centre Fergus McFadden top-scored with 15 points – a try, two conversions and two penalties – while full-back Girvan Dempsey chipped in with the other try as Michael Cheika’s men extended their unbeaten run, in all competitions, to eight games.

A Hefin O’Hare effort nudged Glasgow ahead briefly and while Leinster broke free for a 20-7 half-time advantage, replacement Colin Gregor salvaged a losing bonus point for the Scots with a second half try and conversion.

Having gone 3-0 down to a McFadden penalty, Glasgow responded well and although Ruaridh Jackson failed to convert a penalty chance, they took the lead by the quarter-hour mark.

Winger O’Hare caught a clearance from Paul O’Donohoe and launched a superb counter attack, sidestepping the Leinster cover on the way to the line. Jackson tagged on the conversion but Leinster seized control for the remainder of the opening half.

The unerring McFadden landed his second penalty to cut the deficit to the minimum and then powered over for a 23rd minute try, following a neat offload from man-of-the-match Isa Nacewa.

McFadden converted and a second try followed for the hosts on the stroke of half-time. Replacement Eoin Sheriff stole a Warriors’ lineout and a swift attack ended with Dempsey stretching over in the corner past Bernardo Stortoni and Peter Horne.

McFadden brilliantly converted to push the European champions 13 points ahead, and it turned out to be a crucial kick as the home side failed to score in the second period.

Missing a host of internationals, Leinster struggled to maintain their high standards and Glasgow, equally shorn of their frontline players, came more and more into the game.

They muddled a couple of try-scoring chances before Gregor crashed over in the right corner in the 67th minute and converted his try to make it a six-point game.

Leinster almost provided an immediate response when O’Donohoe fed Michael Keating but the pacy replacement was hauled down just metres out.

However, Leinster boss Cheika will have been pleased to see his young side finish strongly as they maintained their winning form in front of an 11,814-strong crowd.

Speaking after the game, Cheika said: "It didn’t look like a top four game in stages and we know that at times we didn’t play well, but I’m really proud of the guys effort tonight.

"There were half a dozen or so players out there at the end who were making either their first or second appearances for the province and they did really well.

"We showed a lot of character and our defensive scramble was very effective which was pleasing. It was a very important win in the context of how we manage our season.

"We’re making a bigger commitment than ever with nine players involved with Ireland in the Six Nations, so it’s a big bonus for us to be on top of the league with a game in hand over some of our opponents."

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