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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
O'Driscoll lights up Leinster
Lions, Ireland and Leinster centre Brian O'Driscoll
O'Driscoll scored a try either side of the interval
Leinster 31-18 Pontypridd

A magical display from Brian O'Driscoll helped Celtic League champions Leinster get off to a winning start at Donnybrook on Friday night.

The Lions centre, who had missed some pre-season training with an ankle injury, showed no sign of rustiness as he scored two tries and had a major hand in two more.

His electric pace and inventiveness saw Leinster overturn a 5-15 deficit to ease home winners and collect a bonus point for good measure.

Ponty drew first blood in the 14th minute when full-back Brett Davey sent over a penalty, but that only spurred the home side as Denis Hickie finished off a lightning-fast counter-attack.

  Match details:
Leinster 31
Tries: Hickie (2), O'Driscoll (2), O'Kelly
Cons: Dunne (3)
Pontyridd 18
Tries: Lewis, Bell
Cons: Davey
Pens: Davey, Jenkins

The visitors edge back in front when Geraint Lewis touched down after a forward drive in the 30th minute.

Davey converted and the Welsh side were in front at 10-5 and surged further ahead when prop Duncan Bell crashed over in the corner eight minutes later.

But just as Ponty coach Lynn Howells was contemplating a 15-5 half-time lead, O'Driscoll popped up again with a burst of acceleration from just inside the visitors' half.

Dunne converted and suddenly the game was well poised with an interval score of 15-12 to the Welsh.

The second half belonged to the Irish, however, who were in front at 19-15 within five minutes of the restart after a magnificent try, this time finished off by O'Driscoll under the posts.

It was started by a dazzing run by Hickie who then scorched in for his second try after a deflection from Girvan Dempsey from a high ball.

Dunne missed the conversion but he was to get another, much easier bite at the cherry when another O'Driscoll dash.

Once again his pace split open Ponty and his magic set up Malcolm O'Kelly to touch down under the posts for Leinster's fifth try.


Leinster: G Dempsey; D Hickie, B O'Driscoll, C Warner, G D'Arcy; A Dunne, B O'Meara; R Corrigan (capt), S Byrne, P Wallace, L Cullen, M O'Kelly, E Miller, K Gleeson, V Costello.
Reps: N Treston, P Smyth, D Dillon, A McCullen, B Willis, D Quinlan, P McKenna.

Pontypridd: Davey, Wyatt, Parker, Bryant, Nuttall, Sweeney, John, G. Jenkins, Davies, Bell, Cockbain, Sidoli, Kelly, Parks, G. Lewis.

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (RFU)


The final

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TALKING RUGBY
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