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Five-try Leinster overcome poor start to bully Dragons

The province never fully got going in difficult conditions.

Ryan Baird takes the ball through contact for Leinster.
Ryan Baird takes the ball through contact for Leinster.
Image: Robbie Stephenson/INPHO

Dragons 29

Leinster 35

LEINSTER HAD IRELAND hopefuls and brothers Harry and Ross Byrne at out-half and inside centre for this game, but they had little opportunity to play in a scrappy win.

Both men are seen as potential successors to Johnny Sexton with Leinster and Ireland. Harry Byrne, yet to be capped for Ireland, had a couple of moments, but Leo Cullen’s men were far from their best.

In the end they recorded a bonus-point win thanks to tries from Peter Dooley, Scott Penny, Josh Murphy, a penalty score and Dan Sheehan.

Leinster had a really poor opening quarter. The Byrne brothers weren’t really involved in the game, although Ross did have a kick charged down and Harry put a restart out on the full.

Dragons out-half Sam Davies kicked three penalties and on an awful Rodney Parade surface, his third effort from the halfway line was particularly impressive.

Prop Dooley crashed on to a short pass to score beneath the posts and Ross Byrne converted, but Cullen’s men immediately coughed up a penalty and Davies didn’t miss.

Penny grabbed Leinster’s second try from close range and bizarrely celebrated by taking off his shorts in favour of a new pair delivered from the sidelines. Ross Byrne’s kick was anything but pants.

It put Leinster ahead for the first time, but Davies’ fifth kick meant the Dragons turned around a point to the good.

Leinster moved back ahead at the start of the second half. Dragons prop Lloyd Fairbrother was yellow carded for a no-arms tackle. Murphy crossed and Ross Byrne converted.

A penalty try then followed as Leinster’s forwards got to work on the Dragons pack. Dan Baker, on his Dragons debut, was yellow carded for illegally trying to stop the score.

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There was never much danger of Leinster losing from there and replacement hooker Sheehan grabbed a fifth. Cullen then removed Harry Byrne with his sibling stepping in at out-half.

Dragons grabbed two late consolations through replacement Luke Baldwin and Josh Lewis, but although it was not enough Davies’ conversion did ensure a home losing bonus-point.

Scorers:  

Dragons
Tries: Baldwin 74, Lewis 80
Cons: S Davies 74, 80
Pens: S Davies 16, 19, 22, 26, 37  

Leinster
Tries: P Dooley 25, Penny 30, Murphy 47, Penalty 57, Sheehan 63
Cons: R Byrne 25, 30, 48, 64 

DRAGONS: J Williams (64); Holmes (Coleman 52-57), Owen, Dixon, Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (capt) (Baldwin 64); Harris (Bateman 51), Hibbard (Shipp 49), Fairbrother, J Davies, Carter (Maksymiw 57), Screech (Baker 31), Fry, Taylor 

Replacement not used: Edwards 

LEINSTER: O’Reilly; Kelleher, O’Loughlin, R Byrne (Hawkshaw 78), Kearney; H Byrne ((J Osborne 63), McGrath (capt) (R Osborne 69); Dooley (Hanan 65), Tracy (Sheehan 57), Clarkson (McGrath 65), Molony (Toner 57), Baird, Murphy (Fardy 67), Penny, Conan 

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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