LEINSTER 33 GLOUCESTER 22, Tallaght Stadium
Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Ian Madigan, Leo Auva'a, Andrew Boyle, Dominic Ryan, Darren Hudson; Cons: Ian Madigan 4
Gloucester: Tries: Ian Clark, Peter Buxton, Dan Murphy; Cons: Rob Cook, Tim Taylor; Pen: Rob Cook
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A young Leinster side kicked off their campaign with a fine five-try victory over Gloucester in Saturday's pre-season clash at 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 a penalty in the third minute.
Leinster defended well and regained the initiative and when a penalty opportunity arose for the hosts after nine minutes, 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 linked with number 8 Leo Auva'a who crashed over to score the game's opening try. Madigan landed the straightforward conversion to push his side into a 7-3 lead.
In the 18th minute Gloucester regained the advantage when left winger Ian Clark broke through the defence to touch down near the corner, with Cook adding the extras to move the English side back in front at 10-7.
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 Whites' 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 try-line as the exciting first half drew to a close but the Leinster defence withstood the late pressure to take a four-point buffer into the break.
The hosts began the second half brightly with Fionn Carr starting a good move which saw replacement 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 cut in 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 replacements prepared to enter the fray on the hour mark winger Carr almost got his name on the scoresheet 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 - Ryan eventually crossed the line for Leinster's fourth try of the evening.
Moments later Darren Hudson scored the province's fifth when he darted clear to make it 33-15 and though replacement prop Dan Murphy added a Gloucester try with five minutes remaining, converted by Taylor, Leinster held on to seal a solid win in an entertaining ground-breaking contest in Tallaght.
LEINSTER: Darren Hudson; Andrew Boyle, Collie O'Shea, Noel Reid, Fionn Carr; Ian Madigan, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Aaron Dundon, Jamie Hagan, Damian Browne, Tom Denton, Ben Marshall, Shane Jennings (capt), Leo Auva'a.
Replacements used: Tom Sexton for Dundon, Dominic Ryan for Marshall (both half-time), Ben Marshall for Browne (55 mins), Sam Coghlan-Murray for Boyle, Jack O'Connell for McGrath, Martin Moore for Hagan (all 58), Jordi Murphy for Jennings (64), Brendan Macken for O'Shea (70), Luke McGrath for Hudson (76), Jack McGrath for Dundon (79). Not used: Cathal Marsh, James Tracy.
GLOUCESTER: Rob Cook; Shane Monahan, Tim Molenaar, Billy Twelvetrees, Ian Clark; Tim Taylor, Dave Lewis; Yann Thomas, Darren Dawidiuk, Shaun Knight, Tom Savage, Alex Brown (capt), 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)