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Sexton drives Leinster to bonus point win despite early sin-binning

Ben Te’o and Jack Conan put in impressive shifts as the returning 10 had Leinster running from deep.

Treviso 3

Leinster 27

JONATHAN SEXTON PLAYED 51 minutes to help push Leinster to a bonus point win away to Treviso.

The returning 10 didn’t manage that tally in consecutive minutes though, the 30-year-old picked up a deserved yellow card 10 minutes in to his second Leinster debut, dragging back Andea Patichetti after the centre had grubbered beyond him.

Sean Cronin Source: Maurilio Boldrini/INPHO

An early try from Jack McGrath off a Sean Cronin offload helped Leinster settle in to the contest and kept them out of harm’s way during a stop-start opening half hour.

Sexton’s only kick at goal came after the loosehead prop’s third minute score. After choosing to kick a penalty advantage away with his left boot, he went down to receive treatment while Fergus McFadden took over place-kicking responsibilities.

However, the number 10 was soon using the full range of his groin muscle, using the right boot to hoist a ball up for Dave Kearney to contest on the left wing on the stroke of half-time. Kearney dominated the aerial battle and, upon landing, the wing got the ball away to Isa Nacewa who scampered in to finish.

Jonathan Sexton Source: Maurilio Boldrini/INPHO

McFadden’s missed conversion left the half-time score at 3 – 15, but it didn’t matter. The eastern province were chasing bonus points in the second half and they made their intentions clear with some ambitious running rugby from deep in their 22.

Sexton powered the wide gameplan with his trademark loops and zipline passing. However, it was the centres who made the breakthrough for the two tries either side of the hour mark.

Noel Reid entered the game as a 28th minute replacement for Luke Fitzgerald, who suffered a shoulder injury, but he did his starting hopes the power of good. A back door offload was collected by Nacewa and the new captain set Conan away to finish on the right flank.

Ben Te'o Source: Maurilio Boldrini/INPHO

Conan’s power was coming to the fore as the bodies in green jerseys tired. His carry and offload on the left minutes later tempted wing Ludovico Nitoglia in to slapping the ball towards the touchline and Treviso, already starved of the ball, were down to 14 defenders.

Ben Te’o capped another impressive display with the bonus point try, steaming through the middle to break two tired tackles on the edge of the 22 and dot down under the posts.

61 minutes and job done, time to call Sexton ashore in case he joined Fitzgerald or Sean Cronin among the injury worries.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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