Leinster came from behind at Rodney Road to claim a victory that must rank as one of the finest in the history of this competition. They trailed 18-10 at half time
Leinster came from behind at Rodney Road to claim a victory that must rank as one of the finest in the history of this competition. They trailed 18-10 at half time and looked to be in a certain amount of trouble. But two and a half minutes into the second half they received the welcome boost of a 46 metre Nathan Spooner penalty that took them to within five points of the home side. Then an audacious rob by Peter McKenna on his opposite number, inside his own 22 gave Leinster the lead when the full-back raced the length of the field to score under the Newport posts. Spooner tapped over the conversion and suddenly Leinster were ahead (20-18). A Howarth penalty then restored the Newport lead just before the lighting failed and the game was held up.
On the resumption Howarth missed with two efforts before a superb kick from the half way by Nathan Spooner gave Leinster the lead once more and deep in injury time Spooner who looked out of sorts in the opening half, kicked a second mighty effort to put Leinster six points up and they held on for a famous victory.
Spooner had put kicked a first half penalty and converted Eric Miller’s try but they were clearly second best in that half and tries from Ben Breeze and Andy Marinos gave the home side a deserved interval lead.
The match turned when McKenna robbed Matt Pini to get that run way try. But Leinster still had a lot of hard work to do before they achieved a marvellous victory.
Leinster. G Dempsey; D Hickie, B O’Driscoll, S Horgan, G D’Arcy; N Spooner, B O’Meara; R Corrigan (capt), S Byrne, E Byrne, L Cullen, M O’Kelly, E Miller, V Costello, K Gleeson. Replacements: P Coyle, G Hickie, B Casey, T Brennan, B Willis, A Dunne, A Magro.
NEWPORT: M Pini; M Mostyn, A Marinos, J Pritchard, M Watkins; S Howarth, O Tonu’u; R Snow, J Richards, C Anthony, S Raiwalui (capt), M Voyle, P Buxton, A Powell, J Powell. Replacements: A Garvey, C Jones, P Young, J Foster, N Brew, J Strange, D Burn.
Referee: S Dickson (Scotland