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Sexton boots Leinster to win
Champions fall short in Dublin
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Jonathan Sexton's five penalties proved enough for Leinster to edge out an understrength Ospreys side at the RDS.
Fly-half Sexton landed five of his six attempts to steer the Irish province to a 15-10 victory in a scrappy affair.
Opposite number Dan Biggar had a night to forget; he kicked an early penalty and converted the only try of the game, before failing with five penalty efforts - four of which were in the second half.
Flanker Justin Tipuric, the region's second youngest ever captain, claimed an opportunist 16th minute try as the Ospreys opened a 10-9 lead into half-time.
But, in their 50th competitive game at the Dublin venue, Leinster tidied up the mistakes and threatened with ball in hand - albeit with the Ospreys able to soak up the pressure.
Both sides made wholesale changes from their last outings, a flood of Ireland internationals returning on the back of Leinster's bonus point win over Connacht.
Tom Prydie was added to the Ospreys bench just before kick-off, replacing James Hook who was withdrawn due to a back spasm. Only four players were retained in the starting line-up from last weekend's defeat at Cardiff.
One of them, Biggar, punished an early maul infringement with his opening penalty, but a fine catch from Shane Horgan got Leinster moving and Sexton's opener soon followed.
Solid defending from the Ospreys stopped Devin Toner and Brian O'Driscoll short of the try-line, before Sexton kicked Leinster into an 11th minute lead on a soggy pitch.
It took a well-timed tackle from Luke Fitzgerald to thwart Rhys Webb after a nippy tap-and-go from the Ospreys scrum-half, but the visitors touched down from the very next phase.
Eoin Reddan had his clearance kick blocked down near the Leinster line, the dropping ball bounced free from Ian Evans' grasp and Tipuric nipped in to score under the posts.
Biggar tapped over the conversion but watched in horror when the ball moved on the tee just as he connected with what looked a straightforward penalty attempt on the half hour. His scuffed kick bounced off the underside of the crossbar and Leinster cleared.
Leinster had the better of the first half's final 10 minutes, with Reddan and Horgan sparking a counter-attack from deep. The Ospreys frustrated them at the breakdown, until Duncan Jones went offside and Sexton closed the gap to a single point.
Biggar's luck deserted him again when he struck the post from a 42-metre penalty as the second half got under way. But Sexton rewarded his forwards for a good bout of play, clipping over his fourth penalty success.
The two kickers miscued when presented with their next chances, and then Webb's throwing away of the ball before a Leinster lineout allowed Sexton to make it 15-10.
Biggar failed with two more attempts - from long range and out wide on the right - and the Ospreys, despite a late rally, seemed content to take the bonus point.
Fitzgerald looked the most threatening of Leinster's runners, but spilled possession and slow ruck ball prevented Joe Schmidt's men from striking for a try.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow Warriors|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|19:15||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|19:30||Treviso vs Dragons|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:15||Dragons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|14:30||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|16:45||Dragons vs Scarlets|
|Saturday 9th May|
|15:00||Ulster vs Munster|
|15:00||Zebre vs Connacht|
|15:00||Ospreys vs Glasgow Warriors|
|15:00||Scarlets vs Cardiff Blues|
|15:00||Leinster vs Treviso|
|15:00||Dragons vs Edinburgh|
|Saturday 16th May|
|15:00||Glasgow Warriors vs Ulster|
|Sunday 8th March|
|Dragons 26 - 22 Ulster|
|Saturday 7th March|
|Treviso 8 - 29 Edinburgh|
|Scarlets 23 - 13 Leinster|
|Ospreys 26 - 12 Munster|
|Friday 6th March|
|Cardiff Blues 18 - 17 Connacht|
|Glasgow Warriors 26 - 5 Zebre|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com