Leo Auva'a scored a try for Leinster in Tallaght. ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Madigan and Auva'a get Leinster off to a winning start

Connacht were also victorious against Exeter but Munster were soundly beaten in France.

LEINSTER KICKED OFF their season with a 33-22 win following an entertaining match at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday.

The reigning Heineken Cup champions were indebted to Ian Madigan, who scored a try and kicked four conversions, and Leo Auva’a for the win.

Auva’a crashed over for the game’s opening try after 10 minutes but the Blues fell 10-7 behind after an Ian Clark score.

Madigan took advantage of an Aaron Dundon overthrow at the line-out to race free and touch down, making it 14-10 at the break.

The fly-half, who was unfortunate to miss out on the Ireland tour to New Zealand in June, then set up a charging Andrew Boyle with a perfectly weighted cross-field kick. Boyle touched down under the posts but Gloucester fought back with a try from Peter Buxton.

Leinster put together a fine team move that set Dominic Ryan free for a try before full-back Darren Hudson raced free to assure a winning start for his side.

Away win

Connacht were also winners on Saturday as they showed a lot of grit to beat Exeter Chiefs 8-6 at Sandy Park.

Eric Elwood’s men absorbed a lot of Chiefs pressure in the second-half and took the lead after 60 minutes when Tongan winger Fetu’u Vainikolo galloped clear to score an excellent try.

Gareth Steenson got two penalties for the home side and Miah Nikora landed a placed kick for the visitors. Sterling defensive work from the likes of Michael Swift and new signing Willie Faloon saw Connacht home.

Munster were beaten 31-7 by Stade Rochelais on Friday. Sean Scanlon got a consolation late in a game that saw comebacks for Doug Howlett and James Downey.

Ulster beat Bayonne 20-15 in France on Thursday.

Player Diary: Adam D’Arcy and Ulster gear up for their first match of the season

Sign him up! Sergio Ramos nails 43-yard field goal during NFL preseason game