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BLUES GRAB A LATE BONUSFourth try puts out Dragons' fire

Leinster moved to the head of the PRO12 League, probably for one night only, as they had to come from behind to put out a raging Dragons fire 31-19 at The RDS last night.

It all came about as a direct consequence of replacement prop Chapparo Francisco's red card for a hideous spear-tackle on Isaac Boss, the scrum-half making way for Darren Hudson, who pounced for the bonus-point with the clock turned red.

Coach Matt O'Connor could not hide his frustration at what he saw as The Dragons "ill-discipline" at the scrum.

"You go down a couple of scores in those conditions, it's going to be hard work," he said after the match.

"I thought the resolve and the composure from the boys to fight their way back into it was brilliant"

Leinster intentions were made known as early as the fifth minute when Ian Madigan drilled a penalty for the corner when he could have gone for the posts.

This did not pay an immediate dividend. It did, however, establish field position, from where Zane Kirchner and Darragh Fanning got squeezed for space down the left.

When the home side next came calling, Madigan pointed to the posts and found them for the lead in the 19th minute.

It didn't hurt that the front five was becoming increasingly dominant in the scrum, setting the platform that went unrewarded due to untidy and inaccurate rucking and Netani Talei's pinpoint poach on the floor.

The Dragons put down roots in the home half, recycling until they had extinguished all avenues, their fly-half Jason Tovey reversing into the pocket from where his drop goal picked up three points in the 28th minute.

Straight away, The Dragons prop Nathan Buck shot himself in the foot with illegal work at a lineout. He was binned by referee Marius Mitrea.

STEAMED

THE EXTRA MAN HAD TO BE TRANSLATED INTO EXTRA POINTS. JACK MCGRATH SIMPLY STEAMED THROUGH ROBERT SIDOLI FOR THE OPENING TRY, CONVERTED BY MADIGAN, FOR 10-3 AT THE BREAK.

Leinster looked on the verge of a second breakthrough only for Tovey's left boot to turn defence into attack. The Welsh men moved it right. When Brendan Macken hauled down wing Matthew Pewtner, centre Ashley Smith was right there to take it to the paint.

Eoin Reddan was replaced by Isaac Boss. His first act was to go to sleep at a ruck for The Dragons to breathe more fire into their challenge from their second try in two minutes, this time from scrum-half Richie Rees.

Leo Cullen's charges had gone from seven-up to three-down in a flash. Tovey doubled the lead in the 53rd minute.

Referee Mitrea yellow-carded replacement Jevon Groves for blatant disregard of the rules at a maul. Cullen opted for the scrum. The penalty try was a formality. Madigan's extras made it 17-16 going into the final quarter.

The mistakes were being eliminated and the ball was being oiled faster to set up another attacking scrum which ended in a second converted penalty try for 24-16 in the 67th minute.

Another Tovey three took the visitors to within one score and kept the pot simmering. They were still in it and Leinster were one try away from bonus territory.

Francisco's plain dangerous dumping of Boss triggered the entry of Hudson for the fourth try in the last play of the game.

MAN OF THE MATCH

JACK McGRATH– The loose-head looks in tremendous shape, doing his work in the scrum and exploding through tackles around the fringes.

TURNING POINT

The Dragons had struck for two tries in as many minutes to lead by six when Jevon Groves was binned in the 58th minute, Leinster pouncing for two penalty tries at scrum time.


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