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Dublin: 8°C Saturday 8 May 2021

A dominant Scarlets second half continued the miserable Irish weekend in Wales

Despite leading at half time, Leinster were beaten by the Scarlets.

Gopperth couldn't lead Leinster to an important away win.
Gopperth couldn't lead Leinster to an important away win.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Scarlets 23 Leinster 13

WHEN BEN TE’O CROSSED for his first try in Leinster colours it looked like the province’s attack had finally hit its stride after a tough couple of weeks but an hour later Matt O’Connor’s men walked off the pitch without even a losing bonus point.

The damage was done by the home side in the second half, where they outscored the visitors by 15-3 to claim a ten-point win.

Both sides looked to run the ball as much as possible in the first half and Leinster looked close to their best early on, with Jimmy Gopperth mixing his game between kicking, passing and running.

Fergus McFadden was prominent on the right wing for the visitors, claiming two high balls excellently.  The wing – who must have a gaelic football background since an Irish player can’t catch a ball without that being mentioned – did particularly well to gather a Gopperth cross-kick and chip into Scarlets territory but the home side’s scramble defence held firm.

Steven Shingler opened the scoring for the home side before Ben Te’o picked a gorgeous line off a Gopperth pop poss to slice through the defence and touch down under the posts for his first Leinster try.

Gopperth then extended the visitors’ lead before John Barclay crashed over in the corner to reduce the gap to just two points at half time.

Rather than serve as a warning for Leinster, the Scarlets’ first try was just a warm-up for their clinical second half. First, electric fullback Jordan Williams crossed in the corner after slick handling from the backs before Gopperth reduced the gap with a penalty.

The out-half was then the unfortunate defender who had to try and prevent back row bulldozer Rory Pitman from squeezing over in the corner. The replacement showed great strength to ride the Kiwi’s tackle and ground the ball.

Seven points down, the visitors looked to play the ball from deep in an attempt to tie the game but were pinged for holding on in their own 22 and Rhys Priestland converted the penalty to move Leinster out of losing bonus point range.

Zane Kirchner looked to have crossed for a try that would have seen Leinster leave with a point, but the TMO ruled it out as Scarlets hooker Ken Owens was taken out off the ball.

The defeat also had implications for Connacht, as their lead in sixth was cut to a mere three points.

Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Regan King, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Hadleigh Parkes, 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Lewis Rawlins, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Peter Edwards, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jack Payne, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23  Adam Warren

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Ben Te’o, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Rhys Ruddock (c), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Mike McCarthy, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Josh van der Flier 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Dave Kearney

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