Date Time Competition Season
7 January 2023 7:35 pm United Rugby Championship 2022/23

Match Report

Late Surge Extends Leinster Unbeaten Run To 14

Leinster are now unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions as a second half comeback saw them defeat the Ospreys in Swansea this evening.

Not their most vintage of performances but one that showed their heart and determination when faced with adversity to comeback and get a win, it will be a boost no doubt but an error riddled showing is not when they want week in and week out.

Late second half tries by Hugo Keenan and Jimmy O'Brien served as the catalyst to Leinster remaining unbeaten in the URC and now being 14 games unbeaten in all competitions, the showed the heart of a lion and why they should never be taken for granted.

Cai Evans moved to fly-half shortly before kick-off and his performance alone does not deserve to see him on a losing team, a fearless dominant display off the tee and the hands as he helped Ospreys to lead for an overall majority in this dramatic tie.

It was a slow start to the game but one that Ospreys put a foot down early on with their defensive strength, Harry Bryne tried a cross field kick to Dan Sheehan in what would be one of the best attacks Leinster had early as the Welsh backline shut shop.

Ospreys would turn defence into attack and work their way in scoring territory however Leinster would concede an early penalty for some ill discipline on their part and it was converted by Cai Evans for a 3-0 lead for the hosts after 10 minutes.

Minutes later a well worked move brought the game's opening try, a quick tap and saw Keenan Giles have space as he made a great run to clear the leinster challenge and saunter over for the score, Evans with a beautiful conversion moving them 10-0 ahead by the 14th minute.

Shortly after the opening try Jimmy O'Brien was held up just shy of the line with Leinster camped looking for an opening, they made numerous off loads but in the end a knock on from Jack Conan stopped the move, they would get points just after as Harry Byrne spilt the posts with a penalty to rescue the deficit to seven.

Leinster certainly needed a spark to bring them back into the tie and go at the Ospreys lead, a moment of magic from Jimmy O’Brien resulted in his side going nearly the length of the field with an attack, they kept going and numerous others joined after O’Brien showed hs lightning quick dancing feet to beat the tacklers, however Byrne would knock the ball forward as it fumbled out of his grasp as the try line was agonisingly close, a move that warranted a score.

It was getting frustrating for Leinster by all accounts as they just could not get the score, they were penalised a number of times including at the scrum, Hugo Keenan misplaced the ball but thankfully it was brought back for a scrum, they had it in them to score it needed some controlled patient play to get them there.

Penalty, Lineout, Maul, Breakaway, Try!, easy as 1-2-3 when Leinster hit that gear, as Dan Sheehan powered over for their opening try after 36 minutes, a quick lineout gathered by Ross Moloney, Cormac Foley grabbed at the tail before offloading to Charlie Ngatai to carry, Foley went wide for Sheehan to run in and cross the whitewash, Byrne’s conversion left it all square 10-10, with little more action in the half it was all tied at the interval.

Warren Gatland may be looking at names for his Welsh Six Nations squad but Cai Evans performance in Swansea was one that deserved his hand raised to be named at fly-half, his monstrous boot was helping his side and another penalty from over 40 metres out moved Ospreys 13-10 ahead three minutes after the restart, bringing his points tally to eight for the evening off the tee.

Errors were everywhere Leinster touched the ball in this tie, littered with mistakes and some sloppy decisions not what we have come to see from the side who coming into the tie were unbeaten in 13, penalised again they were punished by Evans once again as he was a destructive force from the kicking duties, extending their lead out to six.

Leinster kept the heads down and worked hard to get back into proceedings, but a strong shift by the Ospreys backline kept the doors shut, in the end we saw a return to the vintage dangerous Leinster we are used to as Hugo Keenan carried into space and raced in for the second try after 63 minutes, Ross Byrne on for his brother earlier in the half set the conversion up and made no error in putting Leinster ahead for the first time 17-16.

Keenan’s try seemed to be the kick in the backside Leinster needed to wake up, now seeing space and being able to exploit it, a clearance kick was gathered well and some smart offloading led to Jimmy O’Brien racing down the win evading and dancing by three tacklers in the process as he crossed the line, Bryne not letting the hostile crowd get to his head as his second successful conversion extended the visitors lead.

As the minutes ticked by Ospreys looked to snatch something late on in a tie they felt should not have been there's to lose, Evans stepped up with another penalty after 72 minutes to reduce the gap to five, a collapsed scrum rang alarms bells for Leinster as Evans missile of a right boot found touch shy of the line from a penalty, Leinster defended for their lives and forced the turnover and in the end another error from the Welsh side would see the game slip through their fingers.


15Cai Evans Full-Back 16'
10', 43', 55', 72'
14Matt Protheroe 22 Winger
13Michael Collins Centre
12Keiran Williams Centre
11Keelan Giles Winger 14'
10Jack Walsh Fly-Half
9Reuben Morgan-Williams Scrum-Half
1Nicky Smith 17 Prop
2Dewi Lake 16 Hooker
3Tomas Francis 18 Prop
4Rhys Davies Lock
5Alun Wyn Jones Lock
6Ethan Roots 19 Flanker
7Justin Tipuric Flanker
8Morgan Morris 20 No. 8
16Scott Baldwin 2 Hooker
17Gareth Thomas 1 Prop
18Tom Botha 3 Prop
19Huw Owen-Sutton 6 Lock
20Harri Deaves 8 Flanker
21Matthew Aubrey Winger
22Joe Hawkins 14 Centre
23Luke Scully Fly-Half


15Hugo Keenan Full-Back 63'
14Jordan Larmour Winger
13Jamie Osborne Centre
12Charlie Ngatai 23 Centre
11Jimmy O’Brien Winger 67'
10Harry Byrne 22 Fly-Half 37'
9Cormac Foley 21 Scrum-Half
1Cian Healy 17 Prop
2Dan Sheehan 16 Hooker 36'
3Michael Alaalatoa 18 Prop
4Ross Molony 19 Lock
5Brian Deeny Lock
6Rhys Ruddock Flanker
7Scott Penny 20 Flanker
8Jack Conan No. 8
16John McKee 2 Hooker
17Michael Milne 1 Prop
18Vakh Abdaladze 3 Prop
19James Ryan 4 Lock
20Josh Van Der Flier 7 Flanker
21Nick McCarthy 9 Scrum-Half
22Ross Byrne 10 Fly-Half 65', 69'
23Robbie Russell 12 Winger

Past Meetings

(Round 12)
29 - 7
United Rugby Championship
Royal Dublin Society

Leinster v Ospreys

(Round 16)
19 - 24
Royal Dublin Society

Leinster v Ospreys

(Round 5)
7 - 26
Liberty Stadium

Ospreys v Leinster


Liberty Stadium
Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, SA1 2FA, United Kingdom

Diarmuid Kearney is a freelance Sports Journalist based in Co Kerry. He has more than 5 years experience covering domestic and international soccer for different media organisations, while also working for local and national print and digital organisations covering GAA.