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Leavy shines as eight-try Leinster tear Edinburgh to shreds at the RDS

Cian Kelleher got a hat-trick and Luke McGrath scored a brace as the home side kept their run going.

Leinster 50

Edinburgh 10

DAN LEAVY DELIVERED an excellent try-scoring performance on his first start since March 2019 as Leinster tore Edinburgh to shreds in an eight-try mauling at the RDS.

dan-leavy-celebrates-scoring-their-fifth-try-with-luke-mcgrath Dan Leavy celebrates a Leinster try with Luke McGrath. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster’s side were at their most ruthless against an Edinburgh team that barely fired a shot in response.

Ryan Baird made his return from injury off the bench for Leinster on what was a very happy Monday night for the eastern province, who made it six bonus-point wins from six games in the Guinness Pro14 so far this season.

To see man of the match Leavy come through his 57-minute shift unscathed was heartening for Leinster and Ireland supporters, with the flanker winning a turnover, tackling strongly, carrying aggressively, and generally looking powerful from the number six shirt.

Wing Cian Kelleher scored a hat-trick and scrum-half Luke McGrath grabbed a brace for Leinster, while Dave Kearney and Peter Dooley also got their names on the score sheet as impressive inside centre Ciarán Frawley kicked five conversions.

The Leinster juggernaut rolls on imperiously after this dismantling of Richard Cockerill’s helpless Edinburgh, who were Pro14 semi-finalists last season. With the Cardiff Blues to visit the RDS on Sunday, it’s hard to see the winning run coming to an end soon.  

dave-kearney-scores-a-try-despite-henry-pyrgos Dave Kearney scores Leinster's first try. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Leinster had the bonus point wrapped up by the break, with Dave Kearney first across the whitewash on the end of a superb 13th-minute try that started with Edinburgh overthrowing a five-metre lineout to spark the home side onto the counter-attack.

The ball was shifted wide left for outstanding fullback Jimmy O’Brien to grubber ahead and Leavy combined with Scott Penny to come away with a clean turnover in the Edinburgh 22. A phase later the flanker moved the ball to O’Brien, who cleverly grubbered to his left to allow Kearney to finish.

Kearney covered huge ground from right edge to left for Leinster’s second, breaking down the touchline after McGrath sniped into the shortside and then returning the pass inside for his scrum-half to race clear.

The third score came from close-range and initially saw a possible Leavy score chalked off before a second five-metre tap penalty resulted in loosehead Dooley bashing his way over. 

And Leinster notched their fourth just before the break when out-half Harry Byrne countered up the left and then Frawley delightfully stepped and offloaded to McGrath when the ball came back into midfield, allowing the scrum-half to dart home.

luke-mcgrath-scores-their-fourth-try Luke McGrath grabbed a brace in the opening 40 minutes. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

With Frawley having converted three of the tries, Leinster led 26-3 at the break - Nathan Chamberlain’s penalty having been the only response the Scots could muster in the first half.

Leavy got his try just two minutes in the second half, barreling over from close-range after another sweeping move had nearly resulted in Kelleher going over in the right corner. 

Kelleher had his first score just six minutes later – just after a yellow card for opposite number Eroni Sau for batting down a Leinster pass – as out-half Byrne calmly stroked a cross-kick over to the right for his wing to dot down. 

Kelleher scored his second in the 54th minute as the onslaught continued, O’Brien’s excellent pass putting him away in the same corner. 

With both sides ringing the changes, Leinster’s momentum eased off for a spell and replacement scrum-half Nic Groom sniped over for Edinburgh heading towards the final 10 minutes.

But Leinster got back into their flow in the closing stages, superb passes from replacement out-half David Hawkshaw and O’Brien sending Penny free and he offloaded to Kelleher for his hat-trick.

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Leinster scorers:

Tries: Dave Kearney, Luke McGrath [2], Peter Dooley, Dan Leavy, Cian Kelleher [3]

Conversions: Ciarán Frawley [5 from 8]

Edinburgh scorers:

Tries: Nic Groom

Conversions: Nathan Chamberlain [1 from 1]

Penalties: Nathan Chamberlain [1 from 1]

LEINSTER: Jimmy O’Brien; Cian Kelleher, Liam Turner, Ciarán Frawley, Dave Kearney; Harry Byrne (David Hawkshaw ’54), Luke McGrath (Hugh O’Sullivan ’58); Peter Dooley (Michael Milne ’49), James Tracy (Dan Sheehan ’49), Michael Bent (Ciarán Parker ’49); Devin Toner (Ross Molony ’69), Scott Fardy; Dan Leavy (Ryan Baird ’58), Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock (captain) (Josh Murphy ’49).

EDINBURGH: Jack Blain; Eroni Sau (yellow card ’48), Mark Bennett (James Johnstone ’23), Chris Dean, Jamie Farndale (Charlie Shiel ’70); Nathan Chamberlain, Henry Pyrgos (captain) (Nic Groom ’48); Pierre Schoeman (Sam Grahamslaw), David Cherry (Mike Willemse ’56), Lee-Roy Atalifo (Dan Gamble ’53); Andries Ferreira (Jamie Hodgson ’57), Andrew Davidson (Rory Darge ’63); Magnus Bradbury, Luke Crosbie, Ally Miller.

Referee: Craig Evans [WRU].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from the RDS

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