herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Schmidt: Blues showed grit to salvage draw

COACH Joe Schmidt will take more satisfaction out of Leinster's 10-all draw at Glasgow Warriors on Saturday than the simple value of the two points that takes them 11 clear of second-placed Ospreys in the Rabodirect PRO12 League.

"I was reminded how Firhill is such a difficult place to come and get a result on a very wet night, very difficult conditions with a very slippery ball," said Schmidt.

"I was delighted with the way we came back. I learned a little about how deep we can dig when there was 30 minutes left and we were 10 points down and only 14 men on the park."

Once again, full-back Isa Nacewa was the difference, this time between drawing and losing for his last-ditch flying tackles, fine reading of the play and late penalty.

It is a measure of his consistency that he was the standout operator on a night when he was sin-binned by Irish referee John Lacey for the concession of a penalty try for not using his arms in a hit on hooker Pat MacArthur as he slid over the line.

While Nacewa reflected on his actions on the sideline, Leinster showed remarkable resolve to bounce back with a series of drives for loose-head prop Heinke van der Merwe to squelch down for five and fly-half Ian Madigan to convert.



Rescue

There were three points in it. Leinster's steel was good enough for go-forwards and Nacewa's ice-cool kick levelled it up from a penalty.

The very same man was on hand to swoop to the rescue of the Blues when former Ulster wing Tommy Seymour looked like winning it late on as the ball crossed the line from a kick through along the turf.

Schmidt will have little time to dwell in the here and now: "Most in mind is that it is a six-day turnaround and that Aironi only had four guys in the Italian team, so they are going to be pretty much at full strength.

"You do not have time to reflect for too long. Aironi have claimed a couple of big scalps this season and we will have to be ready for them."

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