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Connacht grind out victory over Leinster

A fine defensive effort saw Connacht retain top spot in the Pro12, while the Scarlets ended a long barren streak against the Ospreys.

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Connacht extended their unbeaten run and retained top spot in the Pro12 on Saturday with a hard-fought 7-6 victory over second-placed Leinster.

Kieran Marmion's try ultimately proved crucial as Connacht's defence held firm thereafter, restricting Leinster to two second-half penalties from the boot of Ian Madigan.

Marmion was able to take advantage of a perfectly weighted chip from wing Niyi Adeolokun to touch down in the 13th minute.

The likes of Mike Ross, Devin Toner and Jamie Heaslip all came off the bench as the visitors attempted to turn things around, but Connacht were not to be denied and now hold a four-point lead at the summit – having won seven matches in a row across all competitions.

In Saturday's other match, the Ospreys' hopes of qualifying for the European Champions Cup were severely dented by a 25-16 defeat at home to local rivals Scarlets.

The Ospreys had not been beaten by their neighbours since 2007, but fell away in the second half at the Liberty Stadium as replacement fly-half Aled Thomas landed four penalties for the visitors, who remain third.

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