There is simply no stopping Leinster. Hot on the heels of their win over Munster at the Aviva Stadum, they ruined the Scarlets’ celebratory night at the Pard Y Scarlets with a magnificent seventh straight win.
On a night when home fans were treated to a parade of four of Llanelli’s winning sides who beat the All Blacks 50 years ago, it took less than a minute for Leinster to take a lead they didn’t had never seemed to lose.
Their cause was helped by a host of penalties conceded by the home side, along with three yellow cards and two penalty tries, but there was only one team from when Chris Cosgrave showed up unopposed for a try from the front row – out of play with just 45 seconds on the clock.
Ross Byrne added the extras and visitors were directed to a flyer. The Scarlets, languishing at the bottom of the table and heavily beaten in Connacht last weekend, were not at the front door of the races as they found Leinster’s physique difficult to handle. When they got into the rhythm of the game, they tried to find space around the edges and this tactic eventually paid off.
Ryan Conbeer broke into the wide left 22 and then a long pass from skipper Jonathan Davies allowed Steff Evans to cross into the opposite corner after the Scarlets’ best passing trick on an otherwise miserable night of handling.
Leinster spoke a second after 25 minutes when right winger Rob Russell sent panic through the home defense with a kick towards the line. Hooker John McKee ran with Conbeer to the line, but it was Russell who got the last laugh as he bounced off the two of them, over the line and allowed him to score.
Byrne’s conversion made it 14-5 at the break before Tom Clarkson burst in from close range in the 47th minute. Leinster smelled of blood and when Dan Jones was sent off for persistent offside, they won their bonus points try on the next shot.
It happened via a penalty try as they attempted to pass the ball to Dave Kearney. Johnny McNicholl jumped up to push the ball away and it also went for the trash. A second penalty try came from a lineout in the 73rd minute, quickly followed by a third yellow for Gareth Davies.
Try – S Evans.
Essays – Pen Essays 2, C Cosgrave, R Russell, T Clarkson; Cons – R Byrne 3
J McNicholl; T Rogers (A Hughes 75), S Evans, J Davies (captain), R Conbeer; D Jones (R Patchell 70), G Davies; S Thomas (K Mathias 57), D Hughes (S Evans 57), H O’Connor (WG John 57); J Price, T Price (M Jones 64); A Shingler (I Shenton 60), D Thomas, S Kalamafoni.
Unused replacements: C Baldwin.
YC: D Jones 59; J McNicholl 59; G. Davies 73.
C Cosgrave; R Russell, L Turner, C Ngatai (B Brownlee 62), D Kearney (E Byrne 70-76; R Byrne (C Tector 71), L McGrath (N McCarthy 54); E Byrne (M Milne 57), J McKee ( T McElroy 57), T Clarkson (V Abdaladzhe 57); R Molony, J Jenkins (B Deeny 57); R Ruddock (captain), S Penny (M Moloney 70), M Deegan.
YC: M Milne 65.
Andrea Piardi (Italy).