Ben Brady/INPHO Leinster picked up a big win over Edinburgh at home.
On song
Four-try Leinster return to winning ways with bonus-point victory
Nick McCarthy, Vakh Abdaladze and Max Deegan also crossed over in Leinster’s win over Edinburgh.

Leinster 26

Edinburgh 7

Daire Walsh reports at the RDS

SCOTT PENNY WAS among the tri-scorers at the RDS this evening as Leinster returned to winning ways in the United Rugby Championship with a comprehensive bonus point triumph over Edinburgh.

Following the disappointment of an agonising 29-27 reversal against Cardiff last Saturday week, Leo Cullen’s men were eager to get their league campaign back on track in front of an attendance of 8,559 at the Ballsbridge venue.

Six points behind interprovincial rivals Ulster at the beginning of the night – with two games in hand – additional five-pointers from Nick McCarthy, Vakh Abdaladze and Max Deegan ensures that the bare minimum now separates them from Dan McFarland’s charges at the summit of the URC table.

The hosts had been forced into a late alteration to their line-up as the vastly-experienced Rhys Ruddock was ruled out of contention with a slight quad issue. His place at blindside flanker was taken by Martin Moloney, who was thrown in at the deep end for his first start in the blue of Leinster.

Edinburgh had signalled their attacking intent from the word go with their Fijian number eight Mesulame Kunavula held up just shy of the line in the ninth-minute.

While Leinster inevitably grew into the game, they suffered a blow on the first-quarter mark when inside centre Ciaran Frawley was withdrawn following a clash of heads with Connor Boyle that earned the Edinburgh flanker a yellow card. Frawley’s spot in the team was taken by Harry Byrne, which meant the latter got to share the pitch with his older brother Ross for an extended period.

As they have done so often in the past, Leinster immediately took advantage of the extra man at their disposal. Penny powered over the whitewash in clinical fashion and Ross Byrne was on hand to coolly slot his first conversion of the tie between the posts.

This offered the Blues some much-needed breathing space after an initially tentative start and even though the return of Boyle was a boost for Mike Blair’s visitors, it couldn’t halt the march of their now rampant opponents.

Making his first start since returning from arch rivals Munster in the summer, scrum-half Nick McCarthy pounced on a loose ball in the 31st-minute before racing over to the left of the posts. Ross Byrne calmly stroked over a tricky bonus kick to give Leinster a convincing 14-0 cushion at the interval.

It was looked decidedly ominous for Edinburgh moving into the second half, but they emerged from the dressing rooms with a new-found lease of life. They looked set to finally opened their account in the 50th-minute, only for Henry Immelman’s final pass out towards winger Ramiro Moyano to float into touch.

Leinster’s buffer remained at 14 points heading into the final-quarter and with the likes of Sean Cronin, Devin Toner and Luke McGrath joining Harry Byrne off the bench, they had their sights set on securing a bonus point.

Former Ulster hooker Adam McBurney had started in the Edinburgh front-row and the Ballymena native toiled to good effect before making way for Dave Cherry during the third-quarter.

McBurney represented Ireland at U20s level and it was one of his former underage international colleagues that finally extended Leinster’s lead with 13 minutes remaining on the clock. Vakh Abdaladze was part of the Irish squad that reached the World Rugby Under 20 Championship final in 2016 and the replacement tighthead prop’s clinical five-point finish effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt.

Maximum points was now well and truly with reach for Leinster and after being picked out by Ross Byrne’s audacious pass through the hands, Max Deegan crossed over for their four try in simple fashion on the left-flank.

It was a difficult night at the office overall for Edinburgh, but Emiliano Boffelli’s superb solo try in the closing minutes at least meant they left with something to show for their efforts.

Leinster scorers:

Tries: Scott Penny, Nick McCarthy, Vakh Abdaladze, Max Deegan.

Conversions: Ross Byrne [3 from 4]


Tries: Emiliano Boffelli

Conversions: Emiliano Boffelli [1 from 1]

Leinster: Jamie Osborne (Rob Russell ’73); Tommy O’Brien, Rory O’Loughlin, Ciaran Frawley (Harry Byrne ’20), Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Nick McCarthy (Luke McGrath ’56); Ed Byrne (Peter Dooley ’56), James Tracy (Sean Cronin ’56), Michael Ala’alatoa (Vakh Abdaladze ’56); Ross Molony, Josh Murphy (Devin Toner ’57); Martin Moloney (Alex Soroka ’73), Scott Penny, Max Deegan.

Edinburgh: Henry Immelman; Ramiro Moyano, Matt Currie, James Lang (Cammy Hutchinson ’62), Emiliano Boffelli; Charlie Savala (Jaco van der Walt ’73), Henry Pyrgos (Charlie Shiel ’57); Boan Venter (Sam Grahamslaw ’67), Adam McBurney (Dave Cherry ’54), Lee-Roy Atalifo (Jake Armstrong ’54); Marshall Sykes, Glen Young (Pierce Phillips ’63); Ben Muncaster, Connor Boyle (Kwagga van Niekirk ’73), Mesulame Kunavula.

Dave Cherry, Sam Grahamslaw, Jake Armstrong, Pierce Phillips, Kwagga van Niekirk, Charlie Shiel, Jaco van der Walt, Cammy Hutchison.

Referee: Adam Jones (WRU).

- Report updated to reflect that Scott Penny scored Leinster’s first try, not Josh Murphy

The42 Rugby Weekly / SoundCloud

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