Madigan pulls the strings for Leinster
Leinster 33 Gloucester 22:TALLAGHT STADIUM regulars are more used to seeing Gary Twigg pull the strings, but on Saturday it was Ian Madigan that got Leinster’s pre-season campaign off to a flyer.
The locals were thrilled with a five-try bonanza from Joe Schmidt’s Heineken Cup champions and he was delighted to bring Leinster’s show on the road.
“The RDS is our home and we really love playing there, but it was great to get out of town,” said Schmidt. “I guess it was a little like Carlow last week when we had a super turnout. It gets players excited.
“They love playing the game, but they love playing the game a little bit more when there is a little bit of energy going around the outside the stadium and going on around the edge of the pitch. That kind of enthusiasm pushed them on a little bit more.
“It was super. It was a super crowd, up over 5,000 in a pre-season friendly. I think it was a great place to come.”
Filling the large boots of Jonathan Sexton, Madigan wanted to catch the eye and, after Leo Auva’a’s opener on ten minutes and Ian Clark’s retort for Gloucester, the fly-half stepped forward on the half-hour mark.
He showed some quick feet to gather an overthrow from Aaron Dundon on the ten-metre line and raced past the cover for an easy try to give Leinster a 14-10 lead at the break. After the restart Madigan turned provider and a crossfield kick picked out debutant Andrew Boyle for his first try in the senior blue shirt.
However, Nigel Davies’ side continued to press and got reward for their efforts when Peter Buxton finished off some incessant Gloucester probing and crashed over.
But Leinster soon settled again and further tries from Dominic Ryan and Darren Hudson got their season off to a fine start – apart from some knocks along the way.
“It looks like Darren has a corked thigh, and quite a bad one by the way he is limping,” said Schmidt. “I am certainly hoping that it is not too bad. We are pretty shot of outside backs with a few injuries and all the internationals guys not involved.
“Also Aaron Dundon as well, who got a head clash there that was pretty ugly really. And Tom Denton came off with a fairly decent knock on the head as well. But they are both fine and they were totally lucid the whole time.”
LEINSTER:D Hudson; A Boyle, C O’Shea, N Reid, F Carr; I Madigan, J Cooney; J McGrath, A Dundon, J Hagan; T Denton, D Browne; B Marshall, S Jennings , L Auva’a. Reps: T Sexton for Dundon (ht), D Ryan for Marshall, (ht), B Marshall for Browne (56), J O’Connell for McGrath (58), M Moore for Hagan (58), S Coghlan-Murray for Boyle (58), J Murphy for Jennings (64), B Macken for O’Shea (72), L McGrath for Hudson (77).
GLOUCESTER:R Cook; S Monahan, T Molenaar, B Twelvetrees, I Clark; T Taylor, D Lewis; Y Thomas, D Dawidiuk, S Knight; T Savage, A Brown; P Buxton, A Hazell, S Kalamafoni. Reps: D Murphy for Thomas (ht), D Christolini for Knight (ht), M Thompson for Cook (ht), D Robson for Lewis (ht), J Simpson-Daniel for Monahan (ht), K Brittoon for Dawidiuk (52), R Langley for Hazell (64), T D’Apice for Britton (77).
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU).