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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 September, 2004, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Leinster 9-9 Blues
CELTIC LEAGUE
Leinster's Brian O'Meara
Leinster (6) 9
Pens: McAllister (2), O'Meara
Blues (0) 9
Pens: Macleod (3)
Att: 2,500
The Blues and Leinster battled to a try-less draw in a dour opening to their league seasons at Donnybrook.

Two David McAllister penalties for a home side shorn of their international stars gave them a 6-0 half-time lead.

The Blues' dominance at the scrum helped them come back in the second period, with three Nick Macleod kicks against one for Brian O'Meara.

Replacement fly-half Lee Thomas missed a difficult 73rd-minute penalty as honours were shared in a poor match.

It took Leinster just 30 seconds to open their account for the season, McAllister slotting over a penalty after a Blues offence at a ruck.

The reshaped visitors' squad was taking time to settle having brought in a host of new recruits in the summer, and they delivered numerous handling errors.

Their first concerted attack on 20 minutes nearly yielded a try for Craig Morgan, and when the ball was recycled Rhys Williams was held up going for the line when he should have spread it.

The home side were denied what looked a good try soon after when Gary Brown hacked and chased down the left wing.

Blues coach Dai Young
There will be a lot of players who are not looking forward to seeing the video
Blues coach Dai Young
Williams failed to gather the bouncing ball and the Leinster support seemed to have grounded a fair score, but referee David Changleng adjudged a knock on.

Neither side threatened to trouble the scorers again until McAllister landed a second penalty on the stroke of half time.

The visitors exploded into the second half, a strong run from Nathan Thomas being held up over the Leinster line and setting the position for Macleod to kick a penalty.

Macleod levelled the scores with a second penalty after a fine attacking run from Nick Walne, but Leinster immediately replied with a kick from replacement O'Meara.

The Blues' scrum was causing the home team problems, and when Peter Coyle dropped the set piece under the shadow of his posts Macleod kicked his third and final goal.

A dangerous Walne run was brought down wide on the right and Leinster hands went in to stop quick ball, giving Thomas his chance to win the game.

The talented youngster's kick went close, but the game was destined to end level.

"We got a point and didn't deserve much more," said disappointed Blues coach Dai Young.

"There were a lot of schoolboy errors and there will be a lot of players who are not looking forward to seeing the video.

"We lacked the vision and skill level to get it to the wing, and there were too many dropped passes leaving us nothing to build on.

"Leinster are never easy, always full of commitment and endeavour, but we have got to come to places like this and win these games."


Leinster: J Norton; J McWeeney, C Warner, D Quinlan, G Brown, D McAllister, B O'Riordan; E Byrne, G Hickie, P Coyle, L Cullen (capt), B Gissing, A McCullen, S Jennings, D Dillon.

Replacements: A O'Donnell, D Blaney, C Potts, V Costello, B O'Meara, K Lewis, C Kilroy.

Blues: R Williams; N Walne, J Robinson, T Davies, C Morgan; N Macleod, R Smith; J Yapp, G Williams, B Evans, D Jones, R Sidoli, N Thomas, M Williams (capt), K Schubert.

Replacements: G Jenkins, M Leaman, C Quinnell, M Lewis, D Dewdney, L Thomas, T Shanklin.

Referee: David Changleng (Scotland)




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