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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Job done for Leinster in South Africa as Cullen's men win 11-try shootout

The province have extended their lead in Conference B with a bonus-point win over the Kings.

Southern Kings 31

Leinster 38

A POTENTIALLY TRICKY assignment negotiated with typical conviction, as a three-try salvo before the half-time interval ultimately decided this contest in Leinster’s favour for a sixth straight Pro14 victory.

Leo Cullen’s side fell behind inside the opening exchanges in Port Elizabeth but rebounded strongly to tame the windy conditions and a Kings side who will rue their costly indiscipline. 

Teammates congratulate try scorer Max Deegan Leinster celebrate Max Deegan's try. Source: Richard Huggard/INPHO

With two players in the bin, the hosts were powerless to prevent a Leinster surge late in the first period, as tries from Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Leavy and Max Deegan stamped the province’s authority on the scoreboard.

Bryan Byrne added a sixth score for the defending Pro14 and European champions after the break and although the Kings refused to surrender, the final scoreboard suggests this top-versus-bottom round eight encounter was closer than it was.

A seventh win from their opening eight games sees Leinster extend their lead at the top of Conference B to nine points heading into the November break, the province in a strong position ahead of Ulster and Scarlets after the first block of fixtures.

Impressive here was the clinical edge they showed, particularly in those crucial minutes before the interval, with Deegan’s score off the back of a slick set-piece move the pick of the bunch.

But Cullen and Stuart Lancaster will no doubt be disappointed by the concession of five tries as the Kings kept pressing until the death and were rewarded with two late scores.

The South African hosts got off to a perfect start at the Madibaz Stadium as Yaw Penxe crashed over with just two minutes on the clock, but from there the first half belonged to Leinster.

Adam Byrne drew the visitors level in the far corner in the 15th minute after Noel Reid kicked in behind the Kings defence and Rory O’Loughlin kept the ball alive, offloading for the winger to score his second try of the campaign.

The visitors continued to turn the screw and hammered home their advantage with a penalty try, before that three-try surge as Gibson-Park, Leavy and Deegan all crossed.  

Max Deegan supports try scorer Adam Byrne over the line Adam Byrne crashes over for Leinster's opening try. Source: Richard Huggard/INPHO

Concerning, however, was the loss of O’Loughlin and Joe Tomane in the first half through injury.

Nevertheless, with a 33-12 buffer at the break, Leinster extended their lead shortly after the hour mark when replacement prop Byrne got in on the act but the Kings finished the game the stronger and moved within seven points on the scoreboard.

But Leinster had done all the hard work by that point, the Kings receiving five yellow cards in total throughout a madcap 80 minutes. Cullen will take the points and happily move on. 

Southern Kings scorers:

Tries: Yaw Penxke, Stefan Ungerer [2], Mguca Lupumlo, Masixole Banda
Conversions: Masixole Banda [3 from 5]

Leinster scorers:

Tries: Adam Byre, penalty try, Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Leavy, Max Deegan, Bryan Byrne. 
Conversions: Noel Reid [3 from 6]

SOUTHERN KINGS: 15. Banda Masixole, 14. Makase Michael, 13. Klaasen Harlon, 12. Kruger Tertius, 11. Penxe Yaw, 10. Du Toit Martin, 9. Ungerer Stefan; 1. Ferreira Schalk, 2. Van Rooyen Alandre, 3. Forwood Justin, 4. Greeff Stephan, 5. Astle John-Charles (captain), 6. De Wit Stephan, 7. Burger Martinus, 8. Lerm Ruaan.

Replacements: 16. Balekile Tango, 17. Mguca Lupumlo, 18. Oosthuizen Nicolaas, 19. Van Schalkwyk Andries, 20. Velleman Cyril-John, 21. Masimla Godlen, 22. Klaasen Berton, 23. Rokoua Meli. 

LEINSTER: 15. Dave Kearney (Hugh O’Sullivan 73′), 14. Adam Byrne, 13. Rory O’Loughlin (Tom Daly 29′), 12. Conor O’Brien, 11. Joe Tomane (Ciaran Frawley 37′), 10. Noel Reid, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park; 1. Ed Byrne (Peter Dooley 53′), 2. James Tracy (Bryan Byrne 53′), 3. Michael Bent ( Vakh Abdaladze 65′), 4. Ross Molony, 5. Scott Fardy (captain) (Mick Kearney 62′), 6. Josh Murphy, 7. Dan Leavy, 8. Max Deegan (Caelan Doris 43′) 

Referee: Lloyd Linton.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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