Leinster climbed to the top of the Celtic League table for the first time in their history by edging out Border Reivers 35-34 in a nail-biting encounter at Netherdale.
Leinster were hot-favourites coming into the clash but were made to work for their narrow triumph by a Reivers side looking to bolster their chances of Heineken Cup rugby next season. However the visitors made a powerful start to the game and and were rewarded with the first try of the game.
No.8 Jamie Heaslip benefitted from a good lineout and ensuing drive to ensure Leinster stole the early initiative but the hosts soon rallied with Calum MacRae slotting a couple of penalties to edge his side ahead.
But they didn’t hold the lead for long as a couple of minutes later another powerful surge from the Leinster forwards saw prop Ronan McCormack claim the vital touch for the second try of the game.
MacRae pulled his side to within one point with his third successful effort but Leinster’s Will Green notched his side’s third try straight from the re-start and Felipe Contepomi put his previous missed conversion attempts behind him adding the extras on this occasion.
MacRae hit back again, before Contepomi replied in similar fashion and the pattern of scoring continued when the Reivers grabbed their first try through fullback Stuart Moffat.
MacRae’s good day with the boot continued with an excellent converison but there was still time in the half for Contepomi to ensure a try-scoring bonus with his side’s fourth five-pointer and his own conversion put them in control going into the break.
Reivers rallied again when Gregor Townsend conjured an opportunistic score and the match was back in the balance when MacRae added the conversion.The points kept flowing to the end of the game with Contepomi adding another penalty and another try either side of a Nikki Walker try for the Reivers. MacRae’s fifth successful penalty closed the gap to within one point but the visitors held on to secure an historic move to the top of the table.