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Leinster stretch winning streak to 17 as Leo Cullen's side claim bonus-point victory against the Cheetahs

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15 February 2020; Peter Dooley of Leinster is tackled by Rabz Maxwane of Toyota Cheetahs during the Guinness PRO14 Round 11 match between Leinster and Toyota Cheetahs at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

15 February 2020; Peter Dooley of Leinster is tackled by Rabz Maxwane of Toyota Cheetahs during the Guinness PRO14 Round 11 match between Leinster and Toyota Cheetahs at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

15 February 2020; Peter Dooley of Leinster is tackled by Rabz Maxwane of Toyota Cheetahs during the Guinness PRO14 Round 11 match between Leinster and Toyota Cheetahs at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Leinster extended their perfect record to 17 unbeaten after an impressive bonus-point win over Cheetahs at The RDS.

It was never going to be pretty, with the decision taken to close the north and south stands on grounds of safety in the gusting winds a sign of the terrible conditions.

Strangely, the Cheetahs had Ruan Pienaar at scrum-half and refused to use his educated boot for territory, prop Joseph Dweba twice knocking on as 'advantage over' was called by referee Ben Whitehouse.

At the other end, the bursts from Max Deegan, Peter Dooley, Scott Fardy and Joe Tomane came to nothing when Michael Bent lost control of 'the bar of soap.'

Later in the half, number eight Deegan clutched Kelleher's lineout and was on hand to make a strong carry for Will Connors to squeeze out the vital final two metres for a try, converted by Ciaran Frawley in the 22nd minute.

Soon, Frawley was breaking up the middle, finding Luke McGrath with an offload, the ball spinning away from Kelleher's boot.

A hack on from Rabz Maxwane had to dealt with by Rob Kearney and, once that had been completed, Frawley orchestrated another fine attack, Charles Marais eventually seeing yellow for a no-arms tackle before Frawley lashed a penalty for 10-0 on the half-hour mark.

A delicious line from Deegan split Cheetahs right open for Kelleher to take the ball further and Bent finished the job for Frawley to convert.

They even had the control to go three-quarters of the way towards the bonus point when Kelleher accepted an armchair ride from his forwards for 22-0 as the clock turned red for half-time.

Out-half Frawley repeated Schoeman's mistake by kicking the ball dead, the contrast coming in how the South Africans couldn't extract a toll, reflected in scrum-half McGrath blasting around the side of the ruck for the forwards to outwork the visitors, Rhys Ruddock driving over for the bonus-point, Frawley adding two on top in the 44th minute.

Pienaar made an uncharacteristic mistake to invite even further damage, Deegan, Ruddock and Kelleher having a pop in advance of another lineout-maul facilitated by Ross Molony's call and catch, Connors emerging to claim a second try for Frawley to convert.

There was no ease in intensity as Connors forced a spill out of Junior Pokomela, shearing off the side of a moving maul.

The Cheetahs took that out on the scrum, sending Leinster backwards and looking likely for a penalty try when Jasper Wiese picked from the base to be met by Connors and Joe Tomane in a booming two-man thump.

The concession of multiple penalties led to a yellow card for Sean Cronin and, soon after, replacement Boan Venter's ball placement yielded a try, converted by Pienaar.

The scrum dominance became Cheetahs primary weapon of choice, continuing to splinter the home side there.

Centre Benhard van Rensburg was binned for a reckless challenge on Fergus McFadden as Harry Byrne kept Leinster on the front-foot with his tactical kicking.

Coach Leo Cullen won't be happy that Aidon Davis picked up a second try to leave an unsatisfactory final memory from an otherwise satisfactory afternoon.

LEINSTER: R Kearney; F McFadden, J O'Brien, D Kearney (R Kelleher 60, temp; C Kelleher 70); C Frawley (H Byrne 64), L McGrath (J Gibson-Park 64); P Dooley (M Milne 64), R Kelleher (S Cronin 52), M Bent (R Salanoa 64), R Molony, S Fardy (capt, R Baird 52), R Ruddock S Penny 70), W Connors , M Deegan.

CHEETAHS: R Smith; C Bloometjies, W Small-Smith, B van Rensburg, R Maxwane (B Venter 39, temp); T Schoeman (L fouche 67), R Pienaar (capt, T Meyer 67); C Marais (B Venter 46), J Dweba (W Arnoldi 46), J Coetzee (L de Bruin 46), W Steenkamp, JP du Preez (A Davis 68), C Massyn, J Pokomela (G Olivier 67), J Wiese.

Referee: B Whitehouse, Wales.

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