Irish Too Strong for Ospreys in Their Title Bid

Article excerpt

Leinster kept up their Magners League title challenge with a two-try victory over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

The home side, minus 17 squad players, had to settle for a losing bonus point as Leinster secured third place in the table with first-half tries for Shane Horgan and man of the match Rob Kearney with Felipe Contepomi supplying 16 points with the boot.

The Ospreys did take the lead early in the second half with a try for rookie Gareth Owen, but Contepomi saw off the home challenge, kicking three out of four penalty shots in the final 25 minutes.

Brian O'Driscoll's influence helped the Irish province into a 17-12 lead with Shaun Connor keeping the Ospreys in touch with the boot.

The opening six minutes became something of a kicking contest as Scottish referee Andy Macpherson blew up continually.

Connor gave the Ospreys the lead with a 45-metre penalty goal in the third minute from a scrum before Contepomi levelled two minutes later.

A second Connor penalty in the sixth minute restored the Ospreys' advantage which could have been extended had wing Aled Brew controlled his kick ahead towards the Irish line.

But after that it was almost all Leinster.

A cultured up-and-under from O'Driscoll was the start of the move which saw Horgan cross down the right for a converted try.

And though Connor reduced the deficit with his third try, Leinster were soon on the try trail again. Contepomi put O'Driscoll through a gap and the Leinster captain skilfully put Kearney over the line.

The Ospreys, who were minus nine internationals on duty for Wales against South Africa today, were kept in touch at the break with a well-struck Connor drop-goal. …