Leinster crushed in bruising encounter
If Leinster were expecting to enjoy their September visit to northern Italy they got a serious shock, as they were beaten -- and beaten up -- by a physically imposing Treviso side in last night's Magners League clash.
Joe Schmidt's men left without even a losing bonus point, after they spurned the perfect start to slip to their second away defeat of the season on a miserable night. The visitors got off to a dream start thanks to a wonderful Isa Nacewa try within 90 seconds.
The Fiji international started and finished a length of the field move that saw Rob Kearney field an up and under and feed Nacewa who collected his own kick. Sean O'Brien and Luke Fitzgerald continued the momentum with big carries, and Eoin Reddan moved the ball wide for the winger to score.
The Italians bounced back, producing a series of big hits and carries to match. Tobie Botes pulled a penalty back, before Allesandro Zanni made a big charge for Chris Burton to add a neat drop goal. Nacewa sent two penalties wide as Botes put Treviso in front Burton added another drop-goal.
Nacewa narrowed the gap to 12-10 on the stroke of half-time, and he put Leinster back in the lead two minutes after the break. Sean O'Brien made a searing break off loose ball and found Reddan, but the scrum-half's pass failed to find Kearney who was in.
Instead, Nathan Hines conceded a penalty for Botes to put his side back in front and with 25 minutes to go Luke McLean slipped Rhys Ruddock's tackle and dummied past Kearney to score, Botes adding the conversion.
Despite the sin-binning of Leonardo Ghiraldini, Leinster couldn't capitalise as Nacewa and McFadden sent penalties wide. With two minutes left, they opted to send a penalty into touch, but the move backfired as Brendan Williams capitalised on a McFadden knock-on to run the length of the field and score.
Scorers -- Treviso: T Botes 3 pens, 2 cons; C Burton 2 d-gs; L McClean, B Williams try each; Leinster: I Nacewa try, con, 2 pens
Benetton Treviso: B Williams; J Maddock (P Derbyshire 75), T Benvenuti, A Sgarbi, L McLean (D Vidal 75); C Burton, T Botes; IF Rouyet (F Sbaraglini 51), L Ghiraldini, L Cittadini (P Di Santo 61); V Bernabo (E Pavanello 51), C Van Zhyl; R Barbieri, M Vosawai (E Galon 73), A Zanni
Leinster: R Kearney; I Nacewa, E O'Malley, G D'Arcy (F McFadden 57), L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, E Reddan (I Boss 69); C Healy (H van der Merwe 57), J Fogarty (R Strauss 35), M Ross (S Shawe 66); N Hines (M Galarza 74), E O'Donoghue; R Ruddock (S Keogh 77), S O'Brien, S Jennings (capt)
Referee: P Allan (SRU)