Pro12 semi-final: Leinster 17-15 Glasgow Warriors
LEINSTER (11) 17
- Sexton 4
GLASGOW (10) 15
- Matawalu, Bennett
Leinster held off a fierce onslaught from Glasgow to set up an all-Irish Pro12 decider against Ulster on 25 May.
Niko Matawalu's try helped Glasgow take a 10-3 lead at the RDS but a Jamie Heaslip try enabled the home side to move 11-10 up by the interval.
Two Jonathan Sexton penalties extended Leinster's lead to seven points as the match was played at a huge intensity.
Mark Bennett's 75th-minute try cut the margin to two points but Stuart Hogg missed the tough conversion.
Kicking was exceptionally difficulty in the windy conditions and Hogg's effort flew just wide.
Glasgow can consider themselves very unlucky not to have won after summoning up a huge effort against the three-time Heineken Cup winners.
The Warriors showed their intent right from the off as they attacked in the opening minutes with Josh Strauss and prop Ryan Grant being held up just short of the Leinster line.
Glasgow had a strong wind advantage in the first half and the elements caused Sexton to miss a 10th-minute penalty before he did nudge Leinster ahead two minutes later.
However, Leinster then suffered a blow as Brian O'Driscoll was forced off by a back spasm with another Lions squad member Sean O'Brien having been ruled out of the contest after suffering a recurrence of a calf muscle injury.
Glasgow's early enterprise was rewarded in the 15th minute as another attack was finished off by impressive scrum-half Matawalu diving under the posts for a deserved score.
Hogg added the extras and boosted by the score, Glasgow looked set to notch a second try within two minutes as Grant charged his way over the Leinster line only to be bravely held up by Rob Kearney.
Kearney's intervention was probably the key moment in a tight contest.
Hogg did increase Glasgow's lead to 10-3 in the 25th minute but Leinster hit back two minutes later as Heaslip mauled his way over the Warriors line after Sexton had opted for the line-out instead of attempting a penalty chance.
Sexton missed the conversion but he did kick Leinster into a 11-10 lead in the 32nd minute after Matawalu had been harshly sin-binned when hit by a pass from Isaac Boss as he attempted to run back into an onside position.
Leinster were unable to benefit from the numerical advantage for the remainder of the first half although a more favourable bounce would have allowed Isa Nacewa to run in a try unopposed after a clever Sexton cross-kick.
Glasgow's impressive off-loading game continued to cause Leinster major problems in the third quarter.
In a breathless passage of play, Kearney and Cian Healy picked off two crucial turnovers with the former muscling fellow Lion Sean Maitland off the ball out wide.
Sexton's penalties on 63 and 70 minutes extended Leinster's lead to seven but Glasgow continued to probe impressively and they were within a conversion of levelling the contest five minutes from time after Ryan Wilson's superb off-load allowed Bennett to charge in for a try.
But Hogg's conversion, from well right of the posts, was far from easy in the gusty conditions, and his effort drifted just wide.
Glasgow continued to press in the final seconds and, after the Leinster scrum had been in difficulty for most of the contest, the visitors appeared amazed as French referee Pascal Gauzere blew for a penalty after adjudging the Warriors front-row had collapsed in the penultimate play of the game before Sexton kicked to touch.
Leinster: : R Kearney, F McFadden, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, I Nacewa; J Sexton, I Boss; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross; L Cullen, D Toner; K McLaughlin, S Jennings; J Heaslip
Replacements: A Conway for O'Driscoll 13, I Madigan for D'Arcy 68, J McGrath for Healy 73, S Cronin for Strauss 41, J Hagan for Ross 62, R Ruddock for Jennings 73
Not Used: Roux, Cooney.
Glasgow: S Hogg, S Maitland, S Lamont, A Dunbar, DTH Van der Merwe, P Horne, N Matawalu, R Grant, P MacArthur, J Welsh, T Swinson, A Kellock (capt), J Strauss, J Barclay, R Wilson.
Replacements: R Jackson for Maitland 61, H Pyrgos for van der Merwe 70, M Bennett for Horne 67, E Kalman for Grant 62, M Low for Welsh 55, T Ryder for Kellock 60, R Harley for Strauss 35
Not Used: Brown.
Referee: P Gauzere (FFR)