Greystones clubman James Power kicked a late drop goal as Leinster ‘A’ secured a morale-boosting 27-24 win over the Saracens ‘A’ team at Old Albanians RFC on Thursday afternoon.
‘A’ TEAM FRIENDLY MATCH: Thursday, November 13
SARACENS ‘A’ 24 LEINSTER ‘A’ 27, Old Albanians RFC
Scorers: Saracens ‘A’: Tries: Dan Scarbrough, Nico Fraser; Con: Owen Farrell; Pens: Owen Farrell 4
Leinster ‘A’: Tries: Fergus McFadden, Sean O’Brien, Kyle Tonetti, Gary Brown; Cons: Jonathan Sexton 2; Drop: James Power
Speaking after the game, Leinster ‘A’ coach Colin McEntee commented: “We took a bit of time to settle in given that we had a number of different combinations, but our intensity in contact got better as the game went on.
“We did very well to win. I was pleased with the application and the intensity of our play and all the players stepped up to the mark.
“It’s a busy period for us with a number of games coming up, so it’s important to move on from here and I felt the squad showed great character and we will look to build on this.
“This is our third win on the road in-a-row against good quality opposition and we’ll go into Monday’s game against Bristol with confidence.”
Saracens opened the scoring through a penalty from out-half Owen Farrell in the fourth minute, before Leinster struck back after eight minutes through Fergus McFadden, who gathered an intelligent kick through from Jonathan Sexton and Ireland ‘A’ out-half Sexton added the points.
From a good attacking position, Leinster were punished by a loss of composure and full-back Dan Scarbrough scored a breakaway Saracens try, converted again by Farrell, the son of England international Andy.
Leinster again rallied and it was Sean O’Brien who this time got on the scoresheet. Sexton converted the flanker’s try to give Leinster a 14-10 lead.
Farrell then added another penalty on the stroke of half-time to cut the lead to a single point.
Farrell edged the hosts into a 44th minute lead with his third penalty of the day, before Kyle Tonetti rounded the Saracens defence to score his side’s third try of the afternoon a minute later.
With the game ebbing and flowing, Farrell drew his side level with another three-pointer on 55 minutes before right winger Nico Fraser raced clear to give Saracens a 24-19 advantage.
Leinster fought back and in the closing minutes Gary Brown capped a fine flowing move with a stunning try.
And then in injury-time, following some good go-forward ball, replacement out-half James Power sealed the win with a last-gasp drop goal.
SARACENS ‘A’: Dan Scarbrough; Nico Fraser, Tom Casson, Mike Stanley, James Short; Owen Farrell, Brendan McKibben; Jordan Mitchell, Alex Walker, Alex Brown, Rob Anderson, George Kruis, Jackson Wray, Dave Seymour, Don Barrell.
Replacements: Jamie George, Jamie Bache, Luke Baldwin, Sam Stanley, Henry Staff.
LEINSTER ‘A’: Ian Madigan; Gary Brown, Fergus McFadden, Kyle Tonetti, Simon Keogh; Jonathan Sexton, Chris Keane; Jack McGrath, John Fogarty, Jamie Hagan, Conor McInerney, Trevor Hogan, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Stephen Keogh (capt).
Replacements used: Brian Blaney for Fogarty (52 mins), Shane Monahan for McFadden, Paul O’Donohoe for Keane, Royce Burke-Flynn for McGrath (all 65), James Power for Sexton, Eoin Sheriff for McInerney (both 78). Not used: Paul Ryan.