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Leinster power past Southern Kings in first-ever Pro14 clash on South African soil

Leo Cullen’s charges ran in five tries at a disappointingly empty Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Jack Conan was among the try-scorers for Leinster.
Jack Conan was among the try-scorers for Leinster.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/INPHO

Southern Kings 10

Leinster 31

LEINSTER RAN IN five tries as they beat the Southern Kings 31-10 at a disappointingly empty Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, in what is meant to be an historic day in South African and Guinness Pro14 rugby.

It was a patient and workman-like performance from Leo Cullen’s charges to remain unbeaten in the competition after three rounds. On top of that, Leinster have secured three bonus point wins in a row to comfortably top Conference B on 15 points.

It was the hosts that got on the scoreboard first with a pretty straightforward penalty via the boot of the fullback Masixole Banda in the fourth minute.

It was a patience game by the Irish outfit, and they made their first trip into the Kings 22 count when centre Noel Reid crashed over in the 10th minute for a converted try. Hence, he earns the distinction of scoring the first ever Pro14 try in South Africa.

Both teams had their opportunities to gain further points in the opening stanza, and had the Leinster scrum-half and man of the match Luke McGrath collected an offload in the 18th minute, he may well have crossed of the whitewash for the visitors second try.

Oliver Zono, who was a late replacement for Kurt Coleman at flyhalf, also nearly scored a five-pointer and in fact, he actually did cross the line, however, the touch judge had his flag up after Yaw Penxe stepped on the touchline before offloading to Zono.

Rudi van Rooyen is tackled by Luke McGrath Rudi van Rooyen is tackled down by Luke McGrath. Source: Ryan Wilkisky/INPHO

As it was to be, neither side were able to convert further opportunities in the first 40 minutes and the players returned to the dressing rooms with the scoreboard reading 7-3 in favour of Leinster.

The eastern province started the second 40 minutes with a lot more purpose and within two minutes after the restart, Rory O’Loughlin crashed over for an unconverted try.

Mere minutes later the visitors went over for their third try, and as was the case with the O’Loughlin score, it was as a result of penalty and good lineout, but this time it was the back-rower Jack Conan who powered his way over.

The floodgates were opened and after a patient build-up Joey Carbery went over in the left corner for the bonus point try. Carbery could have has his brace less than 10 minutes later, but it was not to be after a Cian Healy knock-on in the build-up.

Leinster once again set up another well-worked try from a penalty lineout with eight minutes remaining on the clock, winger Dave Kearney the man rounding off the move.

The home side got a consolation try in 75th minute when Jacques Nel — brother of the Springbok Sevens star Ruhan Nel — scored under the posts.

The Leinster team ahead of the game Leinster huddle in a disappointingly empty Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium before kick-off. Source: Ryan Wilkisky/INPHO

Leinster head for Cape Town where the will spend the majority of the week, before making the 1000km trip to Bloemfontein to face the Toyota Cheetahs on Friday evening.

Southern Kings scorers:
Tries: Jacques Nel
Penalties: Masixole Banda [1 from 1]
Conversions: Ntabeni Dukisa [1 from 1]
Leinster scorers:
Tries: Noel Reid, Rory O’Loughlin, Jack Conan, Joey Carbery, Dave Kearney
Conversions: Ross Byrne [3 from 4]

Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Oliver Zono, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Dries van Schalkwyk, 4 Stephen Greeff, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira.

Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Petrus Strauss, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Siyabulela Mdaka, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Jacques Nel.

Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 James Ryan, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Ed Byrne.

Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Jordan Larmour.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).​

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