Sunday 17 November 2019

Toothless Dragons slain in RDS romp as Leinster go five from five

Leinster 50 Dragons 15

1 November 2019; Rónan Kelleher of Leinster scores his side's fourth try during the Guinness PRO14 Round 5 match between Leinster and Dragons at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
1 November 2019; Rónan Kelleher of Leinster scores his side's fourth try during the Guinness PRO14 Round 5 match between Leinster and Dragons at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Des Berry

Leinster made light work of the Dragons to make it five wins from five at the top of Conference A of the PRO14 at the RDS last night.

The only problem with looking so good is that it makes everyone else looks so ordinary. Of course, that will be of little concern to Blues head coach Leo Cullen, who is building the kind of depth that should enable Ireland’s World Cup absentees to ease back into the Leinster set-up upon their return.

They were into gear quickly as Michael Bent squeezed a penalty out of Brok Harris at the scrum and the prop was then on hand to burrow over from the subsequent lineout for his second try in three games.

It was just about the perfect start, save for Harry Byrne’s missed conversion and Sam Davies' penalty.

Then Leinster exposed a stretched defence as Rory O'Loughlin and Scott Penny, running the tramline, combined to set up Dave Kearney for Byrne to convert in the 23rd minute.

The Dragons then hit back in strange fashion – the ball bouncing around for the alert Jordan Williams who slid in to the left corner to make it a four-point game.

Once again, the response was emphatic, the tempo generated at source providing the hole for Byrne to shoot through and add the conversion for 19-8 at the break.  

The bonus point wasn't too long in coming, the pouring rain providing a clue to the best avenue forward, a driving maul cranked up for Ronan Kelleher to claim the reward.

This was followed by a real cracker, Byrne’s kick seeking space, Kearney starting and finishing a three-man move with Conor O'Brien and Penny looking comfortable on the ball.

After that, the home side came raiding to secure tries from James Lowe's burst down the left, a first ever for replacement Hugh O'Sullivan's neat control of a loose ball and another for Lowe from an intercept.

The Welsh did finally breakthrough for a late try for Owen Jenkins on a night when Leinster's attack took most of the plaudits.

LEINSTER – J O'Brien; D Kearney, R O'Loughlin (C Kelleher 64), C O’Brien (C Frawley 60), J Lowe; H Byrne, J Gibson-Park (H O’Sullivan 60); P Dooley (M Milne 52), R Kelleher (J Tracy 52), M Bent (J Aungier 52), D Toner (capt, R Molony 57), R Baird, M Deegan, S Penny, C Doris (W Connors 71).

DRAGONS – J Williams; O Jenkins, A Warren, C Edwards (T Morgan 48), A Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (capt, L Baldwin 60); B Harris (J Reynolds 72), R Hibbard (E Shipp 71), L Brown (L Fairbrother 71), J Davies, M Screech (M Williams 65), H Keddie (J Benjamin 60), T Basham, H Taylor.

Ref – A Piardi (Italy).

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