by Brendan Cole


80 mins A lineout will take place and Leinster must win it. They can't - it goes forward off Hogan at the front - and it is a win for the Ospreys.

A fair result after they played most of the best rugby.

79 mins Big shove by Leinster but the Ospreys have it and are in clock run down mode. Stan Wright tries to make a hit but with 10 seconds on the clock he is blown up for in at the side.

79 mins They don't get it and Phillips picks it up. He sets a ruck under pressure but again, White says 'Ospreys scrum' despite Leinster working hard and trying to turn it over.

Scrum is just about on halfway.

78 mins Horgan has now been turned over and a scrum to the Ospreys is called by White - big decision as Tiatia looked to be holding on after he turned it over.

Scrum Ospreys on the 10m line.

Leinster need a huge one.

77 mins Leinster will have to do it the hard way and start to work from inside their own half. Trevor Hogan gets them over the halfway line and O'Driscoll and Horgan and D'Arcy all have goes.

76 minutes Another penalty against the Ospreys for an early tackle on D'Arcy. Leinster opt for a kick at goal......

Quicker routine from Sexton and he yanks it left.

75 mins Leinster move it to Horgan and get away with one.....he was almost turned by the Ospreys defence but White decided to blow it up and give another scrum.

74 mins Leinster try to work off O'Driscoll but again a single Ospreys hand reaches in and knocks it on. Scrum Leinster on halfway.

73 mins Penalty Leinster is called at that scrum......illegal angled driving I think. Sexton's kick takes play to the Ospreys 22.

72 mins O'Kelly wins another lineout and D'Arcy is again the midfield target. No gaps for Leinster and Sexton is downed attempting to sneak down the blindside.

Ruck is messy though and it is a set scrum for Leinster on halfway.

71 mins Shane Williams also off for the Ospreys - Nikki Walker in.

Heaslip again claims the restart and Reddan clears. Ospreys run it back but make an error; Tiatia putting his foot into touch on the wing under no pressure.

LEINSTER 12-17 OSPREYS (Sexton pen)

70 mins Sexton puts it over to bring it to 12-17........

69 mins Gordon D'Arcy is hammered in the tackle after a great break - high tackle and it is a penalty. Lee Byrne knew what he was doing and made sure D'Arcy would not be offloading.....

No yellow card but Leinster can put this over and take it down to one score.

68 mins Scrum is messy but Leinster win it and again run Horgan at Williams. He makes his tackle but the next passed ball by Leinster is knocked on by A-W Jones going for an intercept; linesman says 'offside' so it is a penalty which Sexton punts up the Ospreys 10m line.

67 miss Tiatia is in for the Ospreys and they knock forward after winning the lineout.

Scrum Leinster on their own 22.

66 mins Sexton's kick doesn't make touch. He next is also poor; he hoiks it straight out from near his own 22.

Shane Jennings is off for Richardt Strauss.

65 mins Ospreys get it to just under the Leinster posts but with a try in the offing are pinged for accidental offside.

Leinster scrum 5m from their own line.

They get a penalty at the scrum; strong shove from them.

63 mins Biggar takes it up and sets a ruck. The next ruck is blown for a scrum - bodies in the way. Ospreys ball inside the Leinster 22.

62 mins Heaslip takes the restart but can't get room. Lee Byrne tries a drop goal from Sexton's kick but it is a scoopy one.

Ping pong starts up and Leinster make a little error running a ball back; John Fogarty making a poor effort to catch a pass and then knocking on when trying to recover.

Scrum Ospreys just outside the Leinster 22.

LEINSTER 9-17 OSPREYS (pen Sexton)

61 mins Leinster opt to kick the penalty and Sexton pops it over.

59 mins Huge effort from Leinster as man after man takes up a hard carry - they are 5m from the line and it is a penalty to Leinster - advantage showing.

They can't break through though and the penalty is eventually called.

A dozen or more carries from Leinster - D'Arcy and Heaslip in particular having an impact - and the Ospreys were really under pressure.

57 mins Ospreys win the lineout and punt it long. Biggar takes Kearney's return effort; Ospreys ball on half-way.

But Biggar's kick is charged down and O'Driscoll chases! Almost a try chance but his offload doesn't work.

Leinster keep attacking off the clearance kick though and have ball on the 22.

56 mins Phillips kick is mediocre, only gaining 7 metres. Richardt Strauss is being lined up to replace Fogarty.

Leinster try a chip and chase and the centres and Nacewa stream after it; Byrne covers it and ships a heavy hit from Nacewa and it is blown for a high tackle.

Bynre punts it clear.

55 mins Sexton finds a sweet dropout, and it is an Ospreys lineout on their own 22 as Ryan Jones fails to cope with it.

54 mins Biggar slips back for a drop goal but refuses it and passes to Hook, who has a terrible attempt. Leinster 22.

53 mins Leinster win another lineout and D'Arcy makes a lovely break but is tackled by the cover. Sexton's kick is down Byrne's throat and his chip and chase works as he collects. Ospreys ball inside the Leinster half.

Bowe is the next man to make yards, taking a nice angle and getting to the Leinster 22, where the Ospreys have a beachead now.

53 mins Ospreys win the scrum and move it right, set a ruck and Phillips kicks a low ball to touch in the Leinster half. Nice sequence from them.

52 mins O'Driscoll tries to take it up in midfield but is tackled well around the ankles by Bishop and O'Driscoll's offload attempt goes forward.

51 mins Stan Wright is over on the tighthead side with Healy at loosehead. Leinster have a scrum edge again there as Heaslip picks and goes and feeds Jennings.

Leinster attack out wide next and will have another scrum near the Ospreys 22 after Phillips knocked on a loose ball.

49 mins Mal O'Kelly nicks that one and Leinster try to attack up the middle but it is knocked on by the Ospreys as they attempt an intercept.

Scrum Leinster in the middle of the pitch.

48 mins Healy is on for Leinster with van der Linde out.

Re-start kicking series ends with a lineout to the Ospreys when Nacewa puts it out.

LEINSTER 6-14 OSPREYS (pen Biggar)

47 mins He wastes no time drilling it over.

46 mins Heaslip has moved to wing-forward. Ospreys win that scrum and reach the 22 with some smooth passing.

Leinster are then pinged for offside and Biggar will have a chance to take the lead up to 11 again from just to the left of the sticks and 8m outside the 22.

45 mins Leinster run back the restart and make good progress until Nacewa is pushed into touch just over the half-way line.

Their lineout though as an Ospreys hand knocked his offload effort out. But they can't take advantage as D'Arcy drops a regulation ball in midfield.

Scrum Ospreys.

LEINSTER 6-14 OSPREYS (pen Sexton)

44 mins Sexton's kick is good - clean and down the middle.

43 mins Sexton punts to up near half-way. Moved wide off the top and Horgan takes on Williams. He is downed but Wright crashes up the next ball and makes good headway. Alun-Wyn Jones is then pinged for a bizarre effort at a counter-ruck; penalty chance for Leinster.

John Fogarty is also struggling but he will try to continue.

Sexton will have a shot from halfway as the cameras pick out Kevin McLaughlin wearing a suit in the stands.

42 mins Keogh is forced off and Trevor Hogan replaces him. Have to feel sorry for Keogh who looks gutted. Nathan Hines may well move to six.

Penalty Leinster at that scrum. Driving at an angle (or something....) the call.

41 mins Keogh will struggle on again. Ospreys lineout on the Leinster 10m line. They take and maul it. Phillips then hoists a high kick but the Ospreys chasers - Biggar and Bowe - knock it on inside the Leinster 22.

40 mins Back underway; Sexton's kick is high Kearney almost claims but the Ospreys get it. Bowe runs and then chips and Nacewa returns it. Ping pong series......

Reddan punts to half-way.

Stephen Keogh won't continue it appears - his ankle goes as he tries to chase the kick-off........medics are out again.


7.28pm Teams coming back onto the field. Leinster need a huge 40 minutes.

7.27pm Leicester have won that Guinness Premiership Final at Twickenham; Leicester 33-27 Saracens with a sensational try from Dan Hipkiss in the final minutes nicking the win for the Tigers.


39 mins Ospreys attack but their crash ball effort is blown for using a blocker.

Leinster kick to touch with the clock run down.

37 mins Byrne kicks off the scrum and Kearney then hits a long one. Byrne tries to take it quickly but is judged to be the full lineout will happen.

They win that and hit it high. Kearney counters but is tackled. Leinster move it towards the wing but Nacewa and O'Driscoll can't find a gap. Sexton opts for a kick to the corner - nicely done - but Byrne's return is very good.

More kicking and Nacewa ends it with a clearance to touch.

More problems for Leinster; Stephen Keogh has an ankle or knee problem but will stay on for the rest of the half. Lineout on half-way.

36 mins Leinster will have another chance; it's their ball on half-way after the re-start return but Fogarty spills a ball forward to end the chance.

LEINSTER 3-14 OSPREYS (Byrne try, Biggar conv)

34 mins Try for the Ospreys; Reddan box kicks off the lineout and it is Ospreys ball on half-way. They move it wide from left to right and Nacewa is caught out badly looking for an intercept on Biggar's pass.

Another good pass from Hook inside to Lee Byrne supporting seals the score, and he gallops beyond Heaslip and over the tryline.

Another five-pointer and Biggar adds the extras.

32 mins Leinster tear the Ospreys open with a stunning pass by D'Arcy to Kearney which puts him in the clear; Ospreys scramble a tackle but they are up to the 22.

Leinster try a chip next but it is poor and the Ospreys clear long. Leinster return another chip and the Ospreys punt to touch.

30 mins Ospreys win the lineout and maul it up hard. They move it wide but are pinged for crossing and Sexton clears the penalty up to near halfway.

Stephen Keogh is in for McLaughlin, who has suffered a knee injury by the looks of things.

29 mins Serious concern for Kevin McLaughlin with lots of medics on the field as play continues.

At the same time, the Ospreys butchered a three on one try chance - terrible play from A-W Jones. Huge letoff for Leinster. Man on the ground all the time and it is a bit chaotic on the pitch.

Sequence ends with a clearance by Leinster and a return kick carried into touch by Reddan inside the Leinster 22.

27 mins Close to crooked in but the Ospreys win and Bishop takes it up. Ospreys ball on the Leinster 10 metre line but they can't find a hole.

Bowe tries to go wide but his pass is picked off by Horgan and he motors up to the Ospreys 10m line but can't get away and the Ospreys nab his offload attempt and start attacking again.

26 mins Again, a messy scrum series with the players having trouble hearing Chris White. Ends with a penalty to the Ospreys for an early engage attempt.

25 mins Leinster win that lineout and Fogarty and D'Arcy take up hard straight runs. O'Driscoll floats a pass to Horgan but again, he can't hold on to it and it is an Ospreys scrum just outside their own 22 and over on Horgan's wing.

23 mins Keenly contested restart 'ping pong' series almost sees Leinster break free but Horgan can't quite hold on to a pass. Ball went back though, and they attack on half-way though and eventually get handed a penalty on half-way.

This time, Sexton opts for touch and it is a Leinster lineout up on the 22. Good response to the try.

LEINSTER 3-7 OSPREYS (pen Sexton)

21 mins It's into a bit of a breeze but Sexton - who has slowed down his kicking routine a lot of late - strikes it sweetly and puts it over.

20 mins Ospreys return the kick to Kearney and he is tackled high by Lee Byrne when running it back.

Penalty is the call but no more than that - penalty Leinster just inside the 10 metre line and wide out on their right wing.

Sexton will have a shot.

LEINSTER 0-7 OSPREYS (try Bowe, conv Bishop)

18 mins Ospreys turn to try a maul but they Leinster maul defence is too good. Again, the Ospreys attack on the 22 but this time, the cutting edge is there!

Tommy Bowe supporting a run by Andrew Bishop, who scythed past a drifting Gordon D'Arcy. Easy conversion also goes over.

16 mins Hines claims at the front and Leinster maul. Powerful stuff and they get up to the 10metre line where Reddan puts up a high ball. The Ospreys try to counter, throwing some dodgy passes around on half-way, but Leinster keep the pressure on and Biggar kicks.

Kearney returns to touch and the Ospreys go for a quick throw in - O'Kelly spots that he is onside and puts a big hit in on Phillips. Seconds later, Leinster are penalised again at the breakdown though and Byrne clears a long one to the Leinster 22.

15 mins The Ospreys control the 22 dropout and Biggar pushes a kick up to the Leinster 22 and into touch. Leinster lineout.

14 mins Biggar pushes it right and wide from a fairly easy position.

13 mins Ospreys punt that ball back through A-W Jones - odd choice - and Leinster try to attack after Wright catches that high kick. Messy from them with Kearney tackled on his own 22 and they turn over.

The Ospreys continue to attack and a penalty is given against Jennings for getting at Phillips from an offside position at a ruck.

10-12 mins Ospreys given a free kick there (engage?) and they launch a lightning fast counter attack, shifting it to Shane Williams who chips and chases down the line.

Leinster just about recover and clear, with Kearney getting to the ball.

Ospreys lineout and they win scrappy ball but are in the Leinster 22. Not much happening in attack and O'Driscoll gets a smashing hit on Williams as they Ospreys lose ground and eventually Leinster win a turnover and Reddan clears it.

7-9 mins Leinster lineout on half-way and D'Arcy takes it up but Holah takes a stunning turnover. However, Phillips puts it straight into touch for a net loss. Leinster lineout well into Ospreys territory and O'Kelly wins it.

Leinster set a maul but miss a pass off that and it goes forward; the Ospreys counter and then kick. Kearney takes and up and unders and then claims - superb play.

Leinster attack but the play fizzles out with a small knock on by them in contact.

6 mins Nacewa missed touch and the Ospreys put one up for Kearney. He takes and is tackled and the Ospreys give away a penalty. Leinster kick and get a lineout up near halfway.

They win that ball and again go off the top and make a lovely clean break but the play is brought back for a forward pass in the middle. Might have been try time there.

Another big scrum by Leinster but the Ospreys win it. Lee Byrne tries a kick down the line but he fluffs it, putting it striaght out.

5 mins Leinster's turn to crash the ball up the middle - Heaslip taking up ball won by O'Kelly off the top. He sets it up but the next pass doesn't work: O'Kelly dropping Reddan's feed.

Scrum Ospreys. Again, it goes down first time but White opts to reset. Goes down again but the Ospreys got it away. Up and under onto Nacewa but he takes a superb catch under massive pressure.

Great kick by Biggar and a great catch too.

4 mins Penalty Leinster underneath their own posts for a scrum offence - Paul James deemed to have gone to ground. Sexton clears to up near the 10m line.

3 mins Strong Leinster scrum but Ospreys win it and Holah carries it up. Moved wide next and the Ospreys almost work a try through Bowe, getting hands free and looking to offload but it went forward.

O'Driscoll and D'Arcy prevented that but D'Arcy has taken a knock to his shoulder and is getting treatment.

2 mins Ospreys win that and crash up the middle through Collins. Leinster compete strongly at the next ruck though and the ball becomes unplayable; White blows up.

Bit of a boxing match on the deck, Van Der Linde and Alun-Wyn Jones involved. Scrum Ospreys is still the call though.

1 min Jamie Heaslip catches the kick-off and beats a man before setting up. Eoin Reddan then kicks it but it goes straight out from just outside the 22. Nice kick but just overcooked.

Ospreys lineout.


6.32pm Slight delay to kick-off the teams are on the field though - fireworks and dancers etc etc as you can imagine.

Ospreys will kick off within seconds.

6.05pm It's finals day in the Southern Hemisphere too and the Bulls have taken a third Super 14 title in four years with 20 points from the boot of Morne Steyn and a try by ex-Leicester man Francois Hougaard enough to see of the Stormers by 25-17.

The Stormers scored two tries through Bryan Habana and Ricky Januarie, who had a very brief stint at the Ospreys.

6.02pm Another try for Leicester.....really hard to take your eyes of this. Ben Youngs, nipping over from a pick and go inside the Saracens 22 for a score under the stick (Leicester 20-14 Sarries).

6pm It's Leicester 13-14 Saracens over in England after more penalties.

Spotted another Irish connection: Mark McCall on the Saracens bench is 1st XV coach (with Venter officially 'Director of Rugby').

5.52pm I spoke to soon it seems.....Ben Smyth's try for Leicester has been cancelled out by an Ernst Joubert five-pointer for Sarries. 10-11 and it is a cracking final at Twickenham after 20 minutes.

Hopefully we'll get the same at the RDS.

5.45pm And Murphy has created a first try for Leicester, a quick transfer in the backline punishing Saracens for poor defending.

Looks like a Tigers win at this stage........

5.45pm Another penalty for Jackson over at Twickenham and Saracens move ahead: 3-6. Two try chances for Leicester though but they take neither.

The new rucking law/interpretation is having a great impact and producing quick ball for both sides.

Hopefully we'll see the same thing at the RDS at 6.30pm......

5.40pm Club captain and Ireland international Geordan Murphy is one of the Leicester starting XV and with Leicester setting a high tempo, they have drawn level thanks to a Toby Flood penalty for offside.

Conditions have brightened up here in Dublin and that predicted shower may not materialise after all.

5.35pm That Leicester/Saracens match has gotten underway in a haze of fog: the Leicester scrum have gotten off to a powerful start and the Tigers look in 'finals' mode, but Sarries lead 0-3 courtesy of a Glen Jackson penalty.

5.30pm There are big matches in England and France as well today. Leicester and Saracens face off in the Guinness Premiership Grand Final while Perpignan and Clermont are the finalists in France.

Can Clermont finally break their Bouclier De Brennus duck? They have never won the French title, have lost the last three finals and have racked up 10 defeats in total in their history.

If there is a worse record in top level rugby, we'd like to hear it.....

In England, Leicester and Sarries is a spicy tie between two teams who don't like eachother very much.....

Sarries coach Brendan Venter is not allowed to attend the match after an incident involving himself and Leicester supporters at Welford Road earlier this month.

Leicester have history and a winning tradition on their side but Saracens higher energy, with the brilliant Schalk Brits at hooker, might see them through. A tough call.......

5pm Prediction time: Leinster can get on top in the scrum, and maul and grind their way to a dominant position up front. Leinster's discipline should also be razor sharp and with Chris White refereeing it will need to be.

Obviously, the Ospreys have danger men if Leinster do manage to get on the front foot the likes of Bowe and Phillips will simply lack situations to exploit.

I reckon a bigger win than is generally being suggested is on the cards.......

Prediction: Leinster 23-6 Ospreys

4.30pm True to form, Michael Cheika has been keeping the focus on events up front and reckons they will be the decisive factor (though Leinster do not have the Clermont problem of trying to do everything through forward domination and are very smart when it comes to pressing the accelarator and scoring points).

Speaking at yesterday's press conference, he said: 'We're coming up against one of the best packs around. I think the tight five understand that they're going to be attacked heavily by the Ospreys. That's where the game's going to be won or lost.

'There haven't been a lot of words said but there's a knowing feeling around that group of players that they're going to have to put in a massive shift.

Asked about the backlines, he added: 'I've got a feeling it'll be a bit closer to the single digit numbers where the game's going to be decided.

'Those guys will then influence the scoring. It's the platform that's got to be laid by every player with the physicality that's involved in the game, from Rob Kearney at 15 all the way to Stan Wright at number one and all the subs.'

4pm Two-and-a-half hours until kick-off: the bookies are making Leinster 1/2 favourites (with Ospreys 7/4). I'd have my money on Leinster at those odds......

Rob Kearney looks a nice price to score at any-time (5/2) while Brian O'Driscoll at the same price is always worth considering, especially in a big game.

On the Ospreys side, Tommy Bowe is top of the try scorer lists (9/4 to score any time). Will he have chances? It really depends on which side can get on top up front. If Leinster cope with the Ospreys in the tight and crash ball channels, they should have no problem containing the big Monaghan man out wide.......

3.30pm It's been showery and blustery this morning and afternoon in Dublin and a rain-shower is expected sometime around 6pm or 7pm (kick-off is 6.30).

Good news for fans making their way to the RDS: improved conditions should follow........

3pm No changes to the Ospreys team. Looking through it, Leinster should be able to put pressure on through the centre, where James Hook's tackling is an obvious target.

Protecting the ball well at the ruck, and keeping Marty Holah out of the game, should create chances for Jamie Heaslip and the strike runners out wide to do just that.

Getting at Shane Williams, as Ireland successfully did at the Millennium Stadium in the 2009 Grand Slam game, could also yield dividends though they key to that will be getting on top of front.

In attack, Lee Byrne, Tommy Bowe, Hook and Williams are all danger men, while Mike Phillips will also have to be watched carefully.

But the Leinster tight five might just be able to do a number on the Ospreys up front........

Ospreys: Lee Byrne; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Bishop, James Hook; Shane Williams; Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Jerry Collins, Marty Holah, Ryan Jones (capt)

Replacements: Ed Shervington, Ryan Bevington, Ian Gough, Filo Tiatia, Jamie Nutbrown, Gareth Owen, Nikki Walker

2.45pm It has been confirmed that Cian Healy will not take his place on the bench for today's game. Healy has been ill in the runup to the match and Mike Ross will start on the bench.

CJ Van Der Linde and Stan Wright are the starting props.

Sean O'Brien and Leo Cullen are among the others who might have made the cut but are ruled out due to injury and it's almost the last time the Leinster teamsheet will feature Girvan Dempsey or Malcolm O'Kelly.

The final Leinster team is as follows:


15: Rob Kearney
14: Shane Horgan
13: Brian O'Driscoll
12: Gordon D'Arcy
11: Isa Nacewa
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Eoin Reddan

1: Stan Wright
2: John Fogarty
3: CJ van der Linde
4: Nathan Hines
5: Malcolm O'Kelly
6: Kevin McLaughlin
7: Shane Jennings (c)
8: Jamie Heaslip.


16: Richardt Strauss
17: Mike Ross
18: Trevor Hogan
19: Stephen Keogh
20: Paul O'Donoghue
21: Fergus McFadden
22: Girvan Dempsey

(CORRECTION: Healy did make the bench)

2.40pm On the Leinster side, there are a few missing; including club captain Leo Cullen. Shane Jennings will deputise.

According to Jennings, it could be an entertaining game with both sides looking to play expansive rugby (though Leinster will surely focus on grinding the Ospreys down up front if at all possible).

He said: 'They're a fantastic team and they've got threats all over the pitch. We've got to get ready for that. We feel we've prepared well for it and now we just want to get on with the game. It's been a long week off so I think both teams are just raring to go.

'There's two good teams who can really play so, hopefully, it'll be an entertaining game for everybody.'

2.30pm Four hours until kick-off: we'll be sifting through the pre-match quotes, opinions and stats here in the runup to the match.

Sean Holley (Ospreys coach) seems confident; The Ospreys have a clean bill of health and have been playing well over the last couple of months.

He said: 'We're lucky in that we have a clean bill of health. The extra week has obviously helped. This is the squad that have taken us through the past month or so in some good form and we come here in good shape.

'We hope it's a team to win, otherwise we've picked the wrong team! They've been playing well and they deserve their chance again. We're well prepared but anything can happen in a final.'

Holley also had a positive update on Scott Johnson, the Ospreys head coach, who has been unwell with viral encephalitis - inflammation of the brain - since April.

He said: 'Scott's (Johnson) fine. He was a bit dizzy on the flight but he's managed to come over. He obviously hasn't been too well recently but he's on the men and on an upward curve. We're delighted that he'll be floating around the touchline tomorrow night.'