5 Dec, 14:49
The Ireland U19 squad to face Australia Schools at Ravenhill on Saturday 14th December has been announced.
The early exchanges saw Leinster guilty of handling errors and a lack of cohesion in the forwards saw Swansea take a 6-3 lead. It was not until the 31st minute that the home side finally awoke from their slumber. Shane Horgan, who threatened all night from his wing berth, broke through midfield and the third phase on created space for Brian O'Driscoll to break free. He straightened up for support and drives by Emmet Byrne and Reggie Corrigan presented Victor Costello with the chance to slide over the tryline. 10-6.
Colin Charvis was yellow carded soon after for killing the ball and the complexion of the game changed urthermore. The eight versus seven forwards advantage was telling. The home defence was on top and Leinster ran in two tries before half-time. Another Horgan break saw O'Meara release Keith Gleeson to the left-hand corner. And on the stroke of half-time, scrum-half O'Meara passed to Warner, who sent a beautifully timed flat pass for Victor Costello to storm through the gaps and release the arriving Denis Hickie to score, as Gibbs closed down on the number 8. A 20-6 lead at half-time reflected well on the opportunism of the Leinster forwards.
The second period was barely alive, when a slick box kick from O'Meara fooled a sleepy Swansea defence and winger Hickie gleefully collected near the '22 and touched down for his second of the night. For once, the visitors were sprung into action and looked threatening in opposition territory. Henson sidestepped off his right and swivelled and jinked under the posts, under the retreating Hickie and O'Driscoll. Penalties were exchanged for fringements at rucks, leaving the score at 28-16, Swansea still in touch.
A well worked forwards try saw Aidan McCullen cross to the left of the posts on 53 minutes. McCullen in for the injured Leo Cullen finished off great interchanges by Shane Byrne and Victor Costello. A further try for Denis Hickie came on 59 minutes when Gareth Swales failed to follow the flight of Gavin Henson's kick correctly and a quick swivel and dance down the touchline gave Hickie his hat-trick and fourth in Pool action. A Henson drop goal was Swansea's only reprieve for the rest of the half, on 61 minutes.
Further tries for Leinster came from substitute Des Dillon and a break away from halfway by Gordan D'Arcy on 81 minutes. The visitors did little for their reputation and lacked conviction late on, as a second yellow card came their way, this time for Chris Wells.
A home quarter final awaits for Matt Williams' side and whilst the start was slow, the second half performance made it a night to remember for the 6,000 watching.