Ospreys enjoy the Biggar ending against Leinster
Home side fail to hold on as points are shared at RDS
Dave Kearney goes airborne to score Leinster’s second try during the RaboDirect Pro12 game against Ospreys at the RDS. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Leinster 29 Ospreys 29: Dan Biggar snatched a draw for the Ospreys with the last kick of the match at the RDS as reigning RaboDirect Pro12 champions Leinster let a 10-point first-half advantage slip away.
Referee Leighton Hodges awarded a controversial injury-time penalty and moved the kick even closer as he punished Leinster for not retreating quickly enough.
Biggar was nerveless from the kicking tee, finishing the match with a 19-point haul and ensuring a share of the spoils for his side at the end of a hugely entertaining early season tussle.
They should have been further ahead than 16-9 at the break, Biggar kicking the Welsh region in touch with three penalties, including one just before the interval to cut the deficit to single figures.
It looked like curtains for Leinster when they had Seán Cronin sin-binned, but they managed to score 10 points while the hooker was off – Gopperth converting man-of-the-match Jack McGrath’s try and adding another penalty for the lead.
Yet there was yet another twist in the edge-of-the-seat contest, a last-gasp ruck offence paving the way for Biggar’s equalising kick.
The Ospreys had been first off the mark in the Dublin sunshine, retaining possession well before a ruck infringement from Devin Toner allowed Biggar to open the scoring three minutes in.
Leinster cancelled that out with a fine try just two minutes later. Brendan Macken sparked the initial break on the right, with Gopperth and Darragh Fanning getting involved, and some fine continuity sucked in the visitors’ defence for McGrath to send fellow frontrower Strauss over unopposed in the left corner.
Gopperth’s conversion attempt missed on the near side and Leinster — minus late withdrawal Luke Fitzgerald who was ruled out with a tight groin — had to make further alterations to their back-line as Darren Hudson hobbled off and Ian Madigan was introduced at full-back.
Kearney, who switched to the wing, profited from a clever counter-attack for Leinster’s second try in the 13th minute. The province swung turnover ball wide for Gopperth to dart through a gap and he fed Kearney who left the covering Richard Fussell in his wake with a classy finish on the left.
Gopperth failed to add the extras, but his variation in open play was keeping the Ospreys guessing as Leinster continued to prosper with ball in hand.
In the second quarter, great hands from Toner to Strauss unlocked the Welsh defence and possession was retained for Gopperth to turn a low pass into a neatly-taken drop goal.