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Blues handed a lesson out West

LEINSTER slumped to a soulless, passionless 34-6 defeat to five-try Connacht in Galway on a night when out-half Dan Parks, on his debut, brought order and control to the Wild West.

"We've had some manners put on us tonight that will take a bit of getting over. We're going to have to rebuild starting Monday," said coach Joe Schmidt.

Schmidt will also have to wait for fitness reports on Rob Kearney, Gordon D'Arcy and Quinn Roux with Munster due at The Aviva Stadium next week and the first round of the Heineken Cup seven days later.

"At least we will have a full week together and work our way into the Munster game. But, it is going to be very, very tough," he added.

When Ian Madigan smacked the ball between the posts in the fifth minute it would have taken a madman to foresee the carnage ahead.

Leinster kept the home side pinned inside their own 22, keen to test out teenage full-back Robbie Henshaw -- he was superb -- in the air, only to be met with the surgical boot of Parks out of defence.

From there, Connacht worked their way forward for lock Mike McCarthy to twist his frame with hooker Tom Sexton lodged beneath him and the grass.

It was a temporary escape. Parks' miss pass was taken by centre Dave McSharry in between ball-watching Brendan Macken and Noel Reid, just on for the injured D'Arcy. Park's conversion made it 7-3 in the 14th minute.

Connacht could not consolidate. Right wing Tiernan O'Halloran advanced in front of Parks relieving kick for Madigan to strike from near the left touchline.

Henshaw put wing Fetu'u Vainikolo away down the left flank for a stunning try. Parks kicked the extra two for an eight-point lead. A cycle was developing. Connacht could not tame the restart. Leinster pounded away in close and The Westerners returned with interest.

A Parks cross-kick was picked off by Kearney to defuse a dangerous attack. But, the injured Ireland full-back was replaced by Isa Nacewa.

Parks was soon picking Leinster's pocket, O'Halloran finding enough space to get around Fionn Carr in the 37th minute and Parks landed a penalty for a 22-6 lead at the break.

Schmidt summoned Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross from the bench as a clear sign of distress.

The home side looked in complete control. Then, O'Halloran was binned for not releasing by referee Peter Fitzgibbon just past the hour.

When number eight Leo Auva'a was yellow carded, Connacht went straight in for the kill, wrapping up the bonus-point when George Naoupu crashed over and replacement prop Ronan Loughney followed in the 79th minute to complete Leinster's humiliation.


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