A CARDIFF TEAM that started with seven Welsh internationals were mauled by rampant Leinster at the RDS.
Halloween came early to Dublin 4 as the club set up a House of Horrors to scare the wits out of patrons before and after the match.
Sam Warburton and his colleagues will watch the video playback of this match on Monday morning and many will do the viewing through gaps in their fingers.
The tries came thick, fast and early. Leinster achieved their bonus point for four tries by the 28th minute and only by easing off the pedal midway through the second half did they fail to register their best ever league win.
The most points they ever managed were 62, against Border Reivers in 2006. That figure would have been bested had Jonny Sexton kicked nine from nine rather than seven.
Now we’re cooking
If Leinster’s start to the season was sluggish, the 59-22 win over the Welsh side has certainly shaken off the moss.
Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney were in scintillating form on the wings while Ian Madigan put down a significant marker in the three-man audition for the Ireland fullback position.
With Richardt Strauss scoring the first try of the night, Irish coach Declan Kidney will have settled into his seat knowing that the future of the international number two jersey is in good, South African hands.
He would have been less pleased with the sight of Brian O’Driscoll limping off before the half hour mark but Leinster coach Joe Schmidt moved quick to allay fears that the Ireland captain will be out for the long or medium term. He told TheScore.ie:
We know he has big responsibilities coming up in the next couple of weeks so we decided to substitute him.Post-game, there’s a bit of inflammation around the ankle. It’s a sprained ankle. Whether or not that gets scanned is a decision for the medical people tomorrow.”
Schmidt declared that he was not interested in breaking records and was more concerned with his side earning five points to keep up with the likes of Ulster and Glasgow and Ospreys.
Another back row diamond
Jordi Murphy was correctly adjudged man-of-the-match to cap an impressive outing where he outshone his opposite number, Welsh captain Sam Warburton.
Jamie Heaslip, scorer of two tries and a indefatigable runner all evening, may be a bit miffed that he missed out on the accolade but he will be satisfied that the much-lamented absence of Sean O’Brien was not a factor.
Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors are next on the agenda. Both Pro12 fixtures are away from home and Leinster will be shorn of their internationals for them.
With players like Murphy, Kearney and, for now at least, Madigan not included in the Ireland squad for the Guinness Series, the European champions should be in rude health for the games and ready to ascend the league table.