Leinster Rugby battled back to a 22-22 draw with DHL Stormers in a Friday evening United Rugby Championship (URC) thriller.
Both sides may have had one eye on their respective Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 matches next week, but a total of seven tries made for an exciting game as Leinster remained unbeaten in the URC this season despite losing a 19-match winning streak.
It was a poor start for four-time winners of EPCR’s leading competition Leinster, who were down 17-0 by the 34th minute. DHL Stormers fly-half Manie Libbok kicked an early penalty before crossing in the 20th midway through the half. He also added the extras, just as he did when Suleiman Hartzenberg picked up their second try of the game.
Michael Milne went over for an unconverted score just before the break to give Leinster a foothold in the game, and they flew out of the blocks in the second period with Scott Penny doubling up their score in the 43rd minute.
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Another unconverted try from Rob Russel ten minutes later had Leinster believing the comeback was on, and it seemed to be complete when Max Deegan went over to give Leinster the lead – Harry Byrne kicking his first points of the game to put the hosts 22-17 up.
But DHL Stomers had other ideas, Clayton Blommetjies going over to level the scores in the 66th minute.
With Libbok, who has kicked 20 points in his debut Heineken Champions Cup campaign, unable to secure the extras, both sides had to settle for a hard-fought draw ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup challenges next week.
Leinster will welcome fellow Irish province Ulster Rugby to the Aviva Stadium on April 1, while DHL Stormers will host Harlequins in Cape Town on the same day.
In Gallagher Premiership action last night, Gloucester Rugby fell to a 17-12 defeat at the hands of Newcastle Falcons. They face a tough Round of 16 tie against current Heineken Champions Cup holders La Rochelle in France next week, also on April 1.