• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • Penny, Molony, and Milne Justify Irish Call-Ups In Thrilling Draw Against The Stormers

Penny, Molony, and Milne Justify Irish Call-Ups In Thrilling Draw Against The Stormers

Penny, Molony, and Milne Justify Irish Call-Ups In Thrilling Draw Against The Stormers
By Colman Stanley Updated
Share this article

The rainy and windswept weather at the RDS last night was apt, given the arrival of a daunting Stormers side, where they faced a Leinster XV littered with third and fourth choice options, and a bench which dug even further down the depth chart.

The occasion also allowed the home fans somewhat of an understanding into the plight of Connacht supporters, who battle these kind of conditions, and worse, on a regular basis at the Sportsground.

It was a game that served as yet another reminder of the immensely positive contribution South African sides have made to the URC, the otherworldly depth at Leinster, and was also a classic and cliched game of two halves.

Playing with the wind in the first-half, the Stormers took a 5-17 lead into the break, with Manie Libbok's hot-stepping finish being a highlight for the away team.

The Stormers were dominant, but Leinster were the makers of some of their own misfortune, giving away a cheap intercept try, and lacking a clinical edge in the opposition 22, with Harry Byrne wasting a golden opportunity after an overcooked kick in behind.

With the wind at their backs, and confidence from Michael Milne's late first-half score, Leinster began the second 40 with three tries before 60 minutes had passed.

Strength And Deft Handling From Michael Milne

READ HERE: Brian O'Driscoll Fears Why Reoccurring Issues Could Cost Leinster


The highlight from a Leinster POV was not a try, however, but a remarkable chase down tackle from the the relentless Liam Turner, and the subsequent turnover from Rob Russell, when it looked like the Stormers were about to go the length of the field after stealing a Leinster line out deep inside their own 22.

One had to be there to truly experience what was an all-time Leinster moment at the RDS, that was nearly more valuable than scoring the likely try moments before.

Max Deegan's 59th minute try and Byrne's conversion - his only successful kick from five - completed the come back to give Leinster a 22-17 lead.


The Stormers got it back to 22-22, before Byrne got the chance to snatch the win with under four minutes to go. He hit the post to compound what was a poor night from the tee.


Byrne's performance as a whole was very mixed. His kicking inside the opponents 22 was questionable, even with penalty advantages, and even one more successful kick at goal might have continued Leinster's remarkable winning streak.

However, he was at the heart of some of Leinster's best plays, and kicked a couple of beautiful 50:22s, which were crucial to the comeback.


His current run of games is still hugely positive given his poor luck with injuries in recent seasons, and he will no doubt recognise and iron out those flaws after a couple of review and training sessions.

An All-Time Leinster Moment At The RDS

Leinster's stand out performers were those who have been called up to the Ireland squad in recent months, much to the malign of certain pockets of provincial fans.

Player of the Match Scott Penny scored his fifth try of the season, and produced one of his best carrying performances of his career, making a team high 53 metres in tough conditions.

His recent call-up to the Irish squad during the Six Nations - over the likes of John Hodnett, Nick Timoney, and Conor Oliver - has been wholly justified with elite back-to-back performances.

Another Try For The Machine That Is Scott Penny

There would have been no qualms had Ross Molony taken the POTM award, with the second-row packing down against a hugely experienced South African pack.

His work in the line out and general play in the tight showed why he is favoured by Andy Farrell over players such as Jean Kleyn, Gavin Thornbury, and Alan O'Connor.

Michael Milne chipped in with a crucial first-half score, giving Leinster the momentum going into the second-half, and his assist for Rob Russel's try was Gibson-Park like. While he was shunted back in the scrum at times, which was to be expected, he managed to hold his own when it mattered.

It showed once more that Leinster's depth is such that players who are 2nd/3rd/4th choice are often as good, if not better, than players at other provinces who might be first-choice or have more Champions Cup experience.

It also served as a reminder of the growing stature and competitiveness of the URC, where games of this nature are often of a higher standard than European matches, and a players' performance in them now carries more weight.

SEE ALSO: Balls.ie's 2023 Ireland U20s Provincial Mock Draft

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com