Bowe, Trimble and McFadden stake their final claim for World Cup spot
Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble gave a timely reminder of their class as they lit up a dull Ulster display by scoring their side’s only tries in a 23-10 defeat in Edinburgh.
Bowe finished off a move started by centre Stuart McCloskey but the key player in what was a sparkling try was the support play of another Ireland contender, Craig Gilroy, who took and gave the ball at pace.
Bowe was taken off at half-time which was as scheduled with Trimble playing the full game. Both are expected to be included in Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad which he will name tomorrow.
In front of the watchful eye of Schmidt and his entire backroom coaching staff, Leinster had no trouble seeing off Moseley but Leo Cullen will know that a much tougher challenge lies ahead next week when they travel to Edinburgh for their first Pro12 game.
Michael Bent and Gordon D’Arcy were included in the starting XV and both had a point to prove to Schmidt before he finalises his squad.
Bent started at tighthead prop and switched to loose for the opening five minutes of the second half before being replaced.
He made three strong carries but will have been disappointed that the only scrum he was involved in resulted in a penalty for the visitors. Given his ability to cover both sides of the scrum, he looks likely to be included in squad.
D’Arcy however, failed to get enough ball in hand to show what he is still capable of and was withdrawn at the break. It is tall order for him to make the final cut.
First-half tries from Mick McGrath, Dan Leavy and returning crowd favourite Isa Nacewa (who converted all three) eased Leinster into a 21-0 half-time lead.
Fergus McFadden and Isaac Boss were amongst the replacements in what was almost an entirely different XV used for the second half.
McFadden played on the left wing and made an immediate impact by blitzing through the defence in the build-up to Jack Conan’s second try in eight minutes. Nacewa again converted both.
The versatile back was hungry for possession throughout and showcased his place-kicking skills by converting Tadhg Beirne’s try before the hour as well as a penalty try.
McFadden was rewarded for what was an impressive display with a try in the corner 10 minutes from time. Josh van der Flier and Darragh Fanning both ran in late tries, which McFadden converted to cap a routine 68-0 win.
Munster’s new signing Francis Saili scored his first try, but was later stretchered off after receiving 10 minutes of treatment against London Irish at Irish Independent Park.
The All-Black left the action in a neck brace after he picked up a knock while making a tackle, which left a sour note on Munster’s victory a week out from their first Pro12 action. Two tries from Andrew Conway and Saili’s third gave Munster a 21-15 victory.
Leinster – I Nacewa (A Byrne 57); A Byrne (F McFadden h-t), C O’Shea (B Te’o h-t), G D’Arcy (N Reid h-t), M McGrath (D Fanning h-t); C Marsh R Byrne 53), L McGrath (I Boss h-t); P Dooley (J Hagan h-t), A Dundon (B Byrne 50), M Bent (R Burke Flynn 45); T Denton (R Molony h-t), M McCarthy (T Beirne 56); K McLaughlin (c) (D Ryan h-t), D Leavy (J van der Flier 50), P Timmins (J Conan h-t).
Munster – A Conway; S Fitzgerald, F Saili, R Scannell, G van den Heever; B Johnston, C Sheridan; J Ryan, M Sherry, S Archer; J Madigan, D Foley; D O’Callaghan, J Coghlan, CJ Stander (c).
Ulster – C Gilroy; T Bowe, L Marshall, S McCloskey, A Trimble; S Windsor, P Marshall; A Warwick, R Herring (c), W Herbst; D Tuohy, F van der Merwe; C Ross, S Reidy, R Diack.