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Leinster Overcome Harlequins Thanks To Closing Try From Penny

Leinster Overcome Harlequins Thanks To Closing Try From Penny

Leinster full-back Max O'Reilly shows his pace as he takes on Harlequins' Cadan Murley ©INPHO/Andrew Fosker

A youthful Leinster squad, led by Rhys Ruddock, came and conquered Harlequins to register a 26-21 win in an entertaining pre-season friendly at the Stoop.


HARLEQUINS 21 LEINSTER 26, Twickenham Stoop
Scorers: Harlequins: Tries: Lewis Gjaltema, Cadan Murley, Nick David; Cons: Tommy Allan 3
Leinster: Tries: John McKee, Michael Milne, Nick McCarthy, Scott Penny; Cons: Ross Byrne, Sam Prendergast 2
HT: Harlequins 14 Leinster 14

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Match Photo Gallery: Harlequins 21 Leinster 26

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen used the occasion to have a look at a host of novice professionals, while managing to squeeze out a victory from Scott Penny’s try during the final quarter.

A pinpoint kick-off by Ross Byrne forced an immediate penalty and a lineout in the corner where new lock Jason Jenkins claimed the throw. The pack gathered around for hooker John McKee to make the line, with Ross Byrne nailing the conversion in the second minute.

It was not long before recent signing Charlie Ngatai and Jenkins were taking the ball up and Byrne was looking to the aerial strength of Rob Russell.

An alert block by Jamie Osborne and grab of the loose ball by Max O’Reilly, allied to a cover tackle from busy centre Ngatai, kept Harlequins in check.

Dave Kearney had to stop lock George Hammond, while fit-again flanker Will Connors was a nuisance at the breakdown, but Harlequins were able to strike back.

From an 18th-minute scrum after the Leinster defence had been stretched in the previous phases, Lewis Gjaltema shot between defenders for a fine try converted by Tommy Allan.

Leinster looked to Byrne’s boot and the lineout to recover territory where back-to-back turnovers from Vakh Abdaladze and Alex Dombrandt provided counter-attack options.

The agility of Ross Molony out of touch on both sides of the throw was eye-catching in allowing the visitors’ three-quarters to move the ball left and right.

A tremendous piece of skill by O’Reilly stalled a ‘Quins foray forward, yet the patience of Lennox Anyanwu in the centre was forcing Leinster into making decisions in defence.

O’Reilly did well to deal with Dombrandt on the charge, only for the ball to be recycled at speed in the 34th minute and Allan fed Cadan Murley with a superb pass for a second converted try.

No matter, Leinster bounded forward through the footwork of O’Reilly and the support of captain Ruddock and Penny to generate much-needed field position.

A hard line by Ngatai was supplemented by prop Michael Milne’s first carry for a try, converted by another replacement Sam Prendergast who was making his senior debut, left it at 14 points apiece for half-time.

A period of kicking from both teams in tandem with a number of errors was followed by the kind of lineout athleticism of Alex Soroka and Max Deegan which almost led to a Leinster lead.

It came along soon enough when Deegan’s dummy, acceleration and offload allowed scrum half Nick McCarthy to slide over for a 19-14 advantage in the 51st minute.

Straight away, Harlequins got back on the front foot. Tom Lawday’s ball out the back was taken to the right corner by Nick David, Allan converted to make it a two-point game near the hour mark.

The clutch hands of Brian Deeny at the ruck, Prendergast’s lovely tumbling kick and Osborne’s chase and capture of Tyrone Green forced a five-metre lineout.

Soroka was secure from Lee Barron’s throw. Martin Moloney careered away from the maul and Penny, back on the pitch, successfully grounded the try for Prendergast to convert with 12 minutes remaining.

Now 26-21 to the good, Leinster’s defence was strong enough to repel the next attack and McCarthy had the gas to hold off Will Evans from a chip kick.

Increasingly, Leinster were having to work without the ball as ‘Quins pressed forward, but an absolute rocket launcher of a kick from Osborne turned defence into attack and they had the composure to close out the game.

HARLEQUINS: Tyrone Green; Nick David, Luke Northmore, Lennox Anyanwu, Cadan Murley; Tommy Allan, Lewis Gjaltema; Simon Kerrod, George Head, Will Collier, George Hammond, Irne Herbst, Jack Kenningham, Tom Lawday, Alex Dombrandt (capt).

Replacements: Joe Marler, Santiago Garcia Botta, Jack Musk, Wilco Louw, Charlie Matthews, Dino Lamb, Archie White, James Chisholm, Will Evans, Scott Steele, Jack Stafford, Jamie Benson, Bryn Bradley, Ross Chisholm, Conor Oresanya.

LEINSTER: Max O’Reilly; Rob Russell, Jamie Osborne, Charlie Ngatai, Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Marcus Hanan, John McKee, Vakh Abdaladze, Ross Molony, Jason Jenkins, Will Connors, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock (capt).

Replacements: Lee Barron, Michael Milne, Michael Ala’alatoa, Temi Lasisi, Brian Deeny, Alex Soroka, Martin Moloney, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Ben Murphy, Sam Prendergast, Ben Brownlee, Chris Cosgrave, Matthew Lynch.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)