Furlong returns as Leinster cruise to bonus point victory over Scarlets

Leo Cullen’s side win 52-23 in Wales to leapfrog Ulster and take top spot in their Conference.

Leinster's Tadhg Furlong returned after a year out.
Leinster's Tadhg Furlong returned after a year out.
Image: Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

Scarlets 23

Leinster 52

TADHG FURLONG PROVED he’s ready to start Ireland’s Six Nations campaign with a dominant first-half performance in Leinster’s comprehensive bonus point win over the Scarlets in Llanelli. 

This was the tight-head prop’s first appearance since packing down against England 11 months ago and even though he was only on the field for the first 40 minutes, he did enough to put his hand up for selection against Wales next Sunday. 

Leinster easily put away a poor Scarlets side with a seven try rout courtesy of scores from Dan Leavy, James Tracy, Cian Kelleher, Luke McGrath, Max O’Reilly and David Hawkshaw. They also scored a penalty try while Harry Byrne kicked 17 points. 

In response, Glenn Delaney’s side got two tries from Dane Blacker, another from Tom Homer and one from Angus O’Brien while Sam Costelow kicked eight points. 

The hosts made a promising start with three points from the boot of Wales under 20s out-half Costelow, but Leinster’s tight-five dominated the Welsh club thereafter. Leinster came close on two occasions with Max O’Reilly spilling the ball forward with the try line at his mercy, while Josh Murphy was held up over the line. 

But they finally got their just deserves from the subsequent scrum when Leavy powered over from short range for a try which Byrne converted. The Scarlets hit straight back with a terrific pass from Costelow sent former Springbok No 8 Uzair Cassiem charging into Leinster’s 22. 

harry-byrne-kicks-off Harry Byrne kicked 17 points. Source: Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

As the Leinster defenders closed in on Cassiem he executed a wonderful looping pass to put Blacker over for the try, with Costelow adding the extras. The Scarlets were struggling to cope with the power of the visiting from five, and Leinster made their power tell with Tracy touching down off the back of a well-worked driving lineout. 

The Scarlets got taken to the cleaners by Leinster’s driving lineout with that particular weapon earning the visitors a penalty try. Leinster secured their try bonus point at the stroke of half-time when they set up another driving lineout deep in the Scarlets 22.  

After a few surges forward, the ball was spread wide to Kelleher, who brushed aside both Costelow and Ryan Conbeer to score. Byrne added the extras to give Leo Cullen’s men an unassailable 31-18 lead at the interval. 

Leinster lay siege to the Scarlets try line for the opening 15 minutes of the second-half. The Scarlets defended admirably but eventually succumbed to pressure with Ireland international scrum-half McGrath darted over from five metres out, as Byrne added a further two points. Homer scored a try from 55 metres for the hosts but two late scores from O’Reilly and Hawkshaw ensured the visitors racked up over a half century of points. 

O’Brien scored a late consolation try from distance but it was too little too late for the Scarlets.

Scarlets scorers:

Tries: D Blacker 19, T Homer 63, A O’Brien 78 

Conversions: S Costelow 20, A O’Brien 78 

Penalties: S Costelow 3, 34 

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Leinster scorers

Tries: D Leavy 17, J Tracy 23, Penalty try 36, C Kelleher 40, L McGrath 54, M O’Reilly 67, D Hawkshaw 74 

Conversions: H Byrne 18, 24, 40, 55, 68, 75 

Penalties: H Byrne 31 

SCARLETS: J McNicholl, T Prydie, T Morgan, S Hughes, R Conbeer (P Asquith 68); S Costelow (A O’Brien 61), D Blacker (W Homer 61); P Price (Mathias 34), M Jones, J Sebastian (W Kruger 61), M Jones (T Davies 57), S Lousi (C Tuipulotu 65), B Thomson, D Davis (T Ratuva 56), U Cassiem. 

LEINSTER: M O’Reilly ; C Kelleher, L Turner (J Osborne 45), C Frawley (D Hawkshaw 72), D Kearney; H Byrne, L McGrath (H O’Sullivan 68); P Dooley, J Tracy (E Byrne 55), T Furlong (T Clarkson 41), R Molony, R Baird, J Murphy, D Leavy, J Conan (T Clarkson 61). 

Replacements not used : S Cronin, J Dunne, S Fardy,  

Referee: Mike Adamson 

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