Leinster’s great escape

Guinness Pro12: Treviso 24 Leinster 24

Leinster’s great escape

Leinster somehow left Treviso without losing and climbed back to fifth place in the Pro12 standings, but they will rue Jimmy Gopperth’s missed drop goal in the final minute which would have seen them two points better off.

Both sides earned try bonus points in a rip roaring tussle, but the home side should have beaten Leinster as Jayden Hayward failed to convert Davide Giazzon’s 73rd minute try and also missed a 77th minute penalty for the win.

Dave Kearney graced his Leinster comeback with a try, as Darragh Fanning’s brace kept Leinster in touch, but another blow to Luke Fitzgerald compounded a frustrating day for the blues.

Fitzgerald was initially selected to start at centre, but after he suffered muscle tightness in the warm up he was replaced by Brendan Macken in the starting 15.

In a further blow hooker Richardt Strauss also limped off just before half time, but flanker Jordi Murphy managed to complete 53 minutes in his first game since Ireland’s summer tour of Argentina.

Despite the setback of losing Fitzgerald, Leinster flew into an early lead when Fanning linked with Luke McGrath and Zane Kirchner off the back of a scrum to score in the corner.

Treviso were fully deserving of the lead score in the 13th minute when Andrea Pratichetti scored in the corner after Sam Christie’s powerful carry had narrowed the Leinster defence.

Hayward’s conversion made it 7-5 to the Italians, but their passion at the breakdown and positivity in attack meant it came as no surprise when they took the lead.

Scrum half Alberto Lucchese was quicker than Luke McGrath to the messy ball and he sent Dean Budd over for a 12-5 lead.

On the half hour mark Kearney celebrated his return with his first try of the season which came on the back of a strong carry from Jack Conan, but Gopperth was unable to convert again as Leinster trailed 12-10 at the break.

Bryan Byrne crossed a minute after the break when he charged down Joe Carlisle’s lazy clearance.

Marco Barbini gave Treviso the lead when he charged down a poor Gopperth clearance in the 51st minute and after Fanning crept over from close range 12 minutes from time Giazon’s late try clinched the draw.

Scorers for Treviso: A Pratichetti, D Budd, M Barbini, D Giazzon tries; J Hayward 2 cons.

Leinster: D Fanning 2, D Kearney, B Byrne tries; J Gopperth 2 cons.

TREVISO: J Hayward; A Pratichetti, E Bacchin, S Christie, L Nitoglia; J Carlisle, A Lucchese; M Zanusso, D Giazzon, R Harden; T Vallejos, C Van Zyl; M Barbini, D Budd, M Luamanu.

Replacements: L Auva’a for Luamanu (19), M Fuser for Van Zyl (64), Meyer Swanepoel for Barbini (64), R Acosta for Harden (75).

LEINSTER: Z Kirchner; D Fanning, B Macken, N Reid, D Kearney; J Gopperth, L McGrath; M Bent, R Strauss, T Furlong; T Denton, K Douglas; K McLaughlin, J Murphy, J Conan.

Replacements: B Byrne for Strauss (40), M McGrath for Kirchner (53), D Ryan for Murphy (53), I Boss for McGrath (53), B Marshall for McLaughlin (64), J Hagan for Furlong (69).

Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU).

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