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Penny at the double to cap Leinster's comprehensive win against Cardiff Blues

Leo Cullen’s four-in-a-row-chasing side remain the team to beat in the Guinness Pro14.

Leinster 40
Cardiff Blues 5

Daire Walsh reports from the RDS

LEINSTER MOVED SEVEN points clear at the summit of the Guinness Pro14 Conference A table with a convincing bonus-point triumph over Cardiff Blues this evening.

While Ulster will have an opportunity to close the gap on the defending champions when they host Scarlets at Kingspan Stadium later tonight, Leo Cullen’s four-in-a-row-chasing side remain the team to beat in this season’s competition.

scott-penny-scores-a-try Scott Penny scores a try for Leinster against Cardiff Blues. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

After Dave Kearney, Jimmy O’Brien and James Tracy had touched down in the opening period, replacements Scott Penny (two) and Michael Silvester added their names to the scoresheet in the second half to wrap up a seventh successive league victory for Leinster.

Wasting no time in setting out their stall, the hosts broke the deadlock with just 37 seconds gone on the clock. Following initial leg work by half-backs Luke McGrath and Harry Byrne, Ciarán Frawley broke through Cardiff’s defensive line and released Kearney for a routine try.

A day after his older brother Ross featured for Ireland at Twickenham Stadium, Byrne comfortably dissected the uprights from the subsequent conversion.

It seemed like only a matter of time before the hosts added to their advantage and a second try duly arrived when fullback O’Brien chased down his own kick up the left wing for a superb individual five-pointer.

Byrne added the extras once again to stretch the Leinster lead, but Cardiff improved as the half wore on and eventually opened their account with an unconverted Aled Summerhill score in the 18th minute.

Leinster remained in control, however, and Tracy grounded off a line-out maul move to give his side a commanding 19-5 cushion at the break.

The Kildare man’s 11th provincial try edged Leinster a step closer to a seventh consecutive bonus-point win, but patience was required in their pursuit of additional scores.

Although Josh Murphy had produced a strong shift alongside Dan Leavy and team captain Rhys Ruddock, Penny’s introduction added a new lease of life to the Leinster back-row.

devin-toner-wins-a-line-out Leinster's Devin Toner wins a line-out. Source: Paul Walsh/INPHO

The dynamic openside finally sealed maximum points for the home team with a tidy finish over the line in the 67th minute and followed up with a second try against the base of the post moments later.

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A fine day at the office for Leinster was completed two minutes from the end as Silvester raced onto Byrne’s delightful kick-through for his first Leinster try.

Leinster scorers:

Tries: Scott Penny [2], Dave Kearney, Jimmy O’Brien, James Tracy, Michael Silvester

Conversions: Harry Byrne [5 from 6]

Penalties: Harry Byrne [0 from 1]

Cardiff Blues scorers:

Tries: Aled Summerhill

Conversions: Jason Tovey [0 from 1]

LEINSTER: Jimmy O’Brien (Michael Silvester ’40); Cian Kelleher, Liam Turner, Ciarán Frawley, Dave Kearney; Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath (Rowan Osborne ’67); Peter Dooley (Michael Milne ’59), James Tracy (Dan Sheehan ’59), Michael Bent (Tom Clarkson ’53); Ross Molony (Devin Toner ’63), Ryan Baird; Josh Murphy (Scott Penny ’53), Dan Leavy (Jack Dunne ’71), Rhys Ruddock.

CARDIFF BLUES: Matthew Morgan (Hallam Amos ’68); Owen Lane, Garyn Smith (Max Llewellyn ’61), Ben Thomas, Aled Summerhill; Jason Tovey, Tomos Williams (Jamie Hill ’63); Corey Domachowski (Brad Theyer ’50), Ethan Lewis (Iestyn Harris ’40-44 & ‘61), Dimitri Arhip (Kieron Assiratti ’50); Ben Murphy, Rory Thornton (Teddy Williams ’50); James Ratti, Alun Lawrence (Gwilym Bradley ’71), Josh Turnbull.

Referee: Mike Adamson.

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