O’Connor: Leinster pair ready to face Italy

Leinster 28 Glasgow Warriors 25

O’Connor: Leinster pair ready to face Italy

Once again just a score separated the sides as Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning and Ruddock all scored tries for the hosts, who have won 10 of their last 11 league games.

Madigan landed five of his six kicks at goal and O’Connor backed his man to be ready if Jonny Sexton fails to prove his fitness before the Italy clash.

“Mads has got things in his game to work on, as has Paddy Jackson — but the ability to kick goals like he does and the threat that he has with ball in hand gives you the ability to play a certain way.

“It is probably very similar to what Johnny does and maybe the thinking is that it is a bit of a change-up in relation to what Paddy offers relative to what Johnny offers and that might have given him a sniff,” said O’Connor.

Right from the off it was evident that the returning Irish squad members were going to play a massive role in this Leinster win. Sean Cronin buzzed around the field and it was his carry and offload that sent Reid in for the first try after six minutes, while Marty Moore was also solid at tighthead. And O’Connor insists Ruddock — who scored the decisive try in the 63rd minute — could fill in at blindside for Ireland, should Peter O’Mahony be ruled out.

“Definitely, he’s in the Irish set-up as the next best six I think — obviously Henderson can play there — but Rhys has been exceptional for us since Christmas,” said O’Connor, whose side lost Luke Fitzgerald with a recurrence of his stomach injury on the eve of the game.

But it wasn’t all glowing performances for Leinster either. Jack McGrath was at fault for Warriors’ first try as his missed tackle let Richie Vernon score, while Fanning was poor in defence in the lead up to Vernon’s second in the 24th minute. And Leinster won’t have been thrilled to let Niko Matawalu score at the edge of a ruck for Warriors’ third try in the 50th minute.

Nevertheless, the home side produced under pressure to take the win that sees them go top and for Fergus McFadden it was the perfect way to catch Joe Schmidt’s eye. “Hopefully that will give Joe a bit more confidence in me. I desperately want to start against Italy.”

Scorers for Leinster: Tries: N Reid, D Fanning, R Ruddock. Cons: I Madigan (2). Pens: Madigan (3).

Scorers for Glasgow Warriors: Tries: R Vernon (2), N Matawalu. Cons: F Russell (2). Pens: F Russell (2).

LEINSTER: Z Kirchner; D Fanning, F McFadden, N Reid, S Coghlan-Murray (D Hudson, 75); I Madigan, E Reddan (I Boss, 51); J McGrath (M Bent, 72), S Cronin (R Strauss, 51), M Moore (M Ross, 51); L Cullen, M McCarthy; R Ruddock, S Jennings (D Ryan, 68), J Murphy.

GLASGOW WARRIORS: P Murchie; T Seymour (L Jones, 63), R Vernon (M Bennett, 73), F Russell, N Matawalu; R Jackson, C Cusiter (H Pyrgos, 68); G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa, 51), P MacArthur (F Brown, 68), E Kalman (J Welsh, 51); T Swinson, J Gray; J Eddie, R Harley (T Holmes, 63), J Strauss (L Nakarawa, 63).

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU).

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