Sunday 4 December 2016

Two-try Leavy leads way as Leinster bounce back with bonus-point victory

Leinster 33 Edinburgh 20

Alan Lorimer

Published 17/09/2016 | 02:30

Dan Leavy of Leinster on his way to scoring his first try. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Dan Leavy of Leinster on his way to scoring his first try. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leinster brought back a number of big guns and the heavy artillery helped to deliver a confidence-restoring win after last weekend's defeat to Glasgow.

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While defence was key to Leinster's win, it was the midfield trio's use of space and clever use of the ball that contributed to the visitors achieving their try bonus point by half-time.

Leinster's Garry Ringrose is tackled by Solomoni Rasolea. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster's Garry Ringrose is tackled by Solomoni Rasolea. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Edinburgh started the game at a blistering pace, conjuring a score in the second minute with a try from right wing Mike Allen, who sprinted on to a finely judged kick by Phil Burleigh, after co-centre Sasa Tofilau had opened up the Blues' defence.

Duncan Weir missed the touchline conversion but the former Glasgow out-half was on target with a penalty four minutes later to make it 8-0.

Leinster countered with a spell of ball retention which brought a score when Noel Reid put Dan Leavy into space for a clear romp to the line, leaving Isa Nacewa with a simple conversion.

The visitors then increased their lead, initially winning possession from a lineout in the corner and then using the ball well to pound at the Edinburgh line before finding space out wide that gave centre Garry Ringrose a try, again converted by Nacewa.

Blair Kinghorn is brought down by Jamison Gibson-Park, left, Noel Reid, centre, and Jamie Heaslip. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Blair Kinghorn is brought down by Jamison Gibson-Park, left, Noel Reid, centre, and Jamie Heaslip. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

By now Leinster were in total command and Edinburgh in total disarray, the visitors striking again from a free-kick and accurate passing that ended with Nacewa strolling in on the overlap, the captain converting his own score.

The bonus-point try came when Leinster gained possession from another penalty-created lineout. The driving maul was checked but Leinster's armoury in midfield took on the fight before scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park dummied over from close range.

Edinburgh's woes were compounded by the sin-binning on the stroke of half-time of skipper Grant Gilchrist for collapsing the maul, leaving a gutted home side to troop into the dressing-room trailing 26-8.

Five minutes into the second half Leinster were likewise reduced to 14 , with Leavy punished for a tip tackle on Edinburgh scrum half Nathan Fowles.

It was the confidence lift the home side needed, the new injection of adrenalin resulting in a try by flanker Hamish Watson, Weir adding the extras.

Edinburgh were close to scoring again when Glenn Bryce chased a cross-kick but his foot was judged to be in touch before the full-back touched down in the corner.

It proved to the end of Edinburgh's immediate threat.

Leinster changed their front-row and that seemed to revitalise the visitors - certainly in defence after Edinburgh staged a late charge, only to be met by consistently accurate tackling.

But finally Leinster's defence cracked, as replacement lock Fraser McKenzie sprinted to the line before off-loading to Magnus Bradbury, giving the Edinburgh back-row his second try in two games.

It seemed that Edinburgh had earned an unlikely bonus points only for Leavy to spoil the muted home celebrations with an 80th-minute close-range try, converted by Nacewa to seal a return-to-form win.

Irish Independent

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