Leinster give away a penalty in the dying moments to allow the Scarlets to draw even with the game ending ten points to each side.
The weather was terrible, wet and windy, and the first half rugby was not good at all from two sides vying for the top spot in conference B. There were mistakes on both sides, and there was no score at the end of the first half.
The worst mistake was the knock on by Tom Williams in the process of scoring a try towards the end of the first half. This was the highlight of the half, a well worked try, and had been awarded by referee Nigel Owens before the eagle eyed TMO called attention to the offense.
It was a close one, the ball barely moved more than an inch, but the consultation showed that there was enough to doubt that the player had control of the ball before it hit the ground. Unlucky maybe more than a mistake, the tackle was good enough to dislodge the ball.
Probably the worst thing that happened in the first half from a Leinster and Ireland perspective was Sean O’Brien’s early departure due to a shoulder injury. He is now a major doubt for the Six Nations show down next week and possibly for the knock out stages of the Champions Cup
The second half saw an improvement to the rugby as the weather got worse. Leinster were first on the scoreboard with good strength shown by Ed Byrne to cross the line.
Seven points was never going to be enough against this exciting Scarlets side. Despite supplying a vast number of players to the Welsh team, they still boast one of the best back rows in club rugby, lead by the Munster bound Tadhg Beirne.
The big number six caused all sorts of problems in the RDS a few weeks ago and was in the same sort of form last night, playing a big part in the movements for Scarlets return try. This was going to be an edgy final few minutes.
Leinster edged in front with a penalty, but will rue a missed opportunity to score a try from a charged down penalty. The TMO was called on to verify what Nigel Owens suspected. It turned out to be the camera on his shirt, the ref cam, that gave the angle to give the decision to the men in red.
The charged down ball hit the foot of the scrum half to go forward and glanced against another Leinster player’s foot before being touched down; offside given.
The TMO was busy in the second half overruling two other try scores, the last from Tom Varndell who just completed a transfer this week. Had he scored in this rearranged game it would have been a bitter pill to swallow.
Leinster tried to build up the phases to see out the clock and limp in three points ahead. This proved to be a bad idea. If they had simply cleared the lines they could have trusted their defense to see out the game.
Yet again that red back row did not give in. Josh Macleod won the penalty cleanly and clearly. The kick at goal tied the teams.
Leinster will leave disappointed. Beating their Welsh rivals twice during the Six Nations period would put them out clear in the conference. This tournament does not have too many more rounds to go and it looks like it is going to be close at the top. Still, a 6-3 turnaround in points is commendable.