Horgan on the double as Leinster make it six-in-a-row

A SIXTH win on the trot moved Leinster up into fourth place in the Magners League at the RDS last night as their second string brushed the Dragons aside and picked up a bonus point en route.

The Welsh visitors may have been closer to full strength, but they were no match for the Irish province who could still call on the likes of Shaun Berne, Isa Nacewa and Leo Cullen to guide them through — while Shane Horgan chipped in with two tries.

This was a comprehensive win for a side who — despite losing a host of players to international call-ups — went about their business with intent in front of their lowest crowd of the season, 10,390.

Their positive attitude was rewarded within three minutes with Shaun Berne’s try. The Australian was on Shane Horgan’s shoulder to collect his offload five metres out after good build up play from Richard Strauss and Rhys Ruddock created the opening for the winger.

Nacewa added the conversion and then tagged on a penalty, and although the Dragons’ tight game saw them hold on to the ball for much of the period that followed, a sole Jason Tovey penalty was all they had to show for their efforts.

Leinster’s passing game began to click midway through the half and their giant prop Clint Newland nearly marked his debut with a clever assist, only for David Kearney to knock the ball over the line.

From the scrum, Ruddock made a nuisance of himself at the ruck and won a penalty. Berne kicked for touch, and then received the ball from the lineout, turning provider for Horgan who collected his fly-half’s cross kick and touched down.

Nacewa added the extras, and although Leo Cullen received a yellow card almost from the kick off for interfering with a man in the air, the Dragons couldn’t make their pressure tell and Leinster went in 17-3 up.

Tovey missed a penalty attempt to get his side back on track after Shane Jennings missed a tackle on Adam Hughes, but a Jennings’ body check on Thomas Willis from the kick off meant he got an easier chance and duly slotted his effort between the posts to reduce the gap to eleven.

However, Leinster reasserted their control and, after Gavin Thomas was sent to the sin bin for a string of persistent offences and Stephen Keogh was denied by the television official, they eventually got their third.

Mike Ross’ half-time introduction saw the scrum dominate and they got the shove on for Isaac Boss to feed Horgan, who brushed aside William Harries’ feeble tackle to score.

Minutes later it was Boss, spurned by Ireland this week, who had reason to cheer as Eoin O’Malley skipped inside his man and unselfishly laid the ball up to his scrum-half, who secured the extra point.

Scorers for Leinster: S Horgan 2 tries, S Berne, I Boss try each; I Nacewa 2 cons, pen.

Scorers for Dragons: J Tovey 2 pens.

LEINSTER: I Nacewa; S Horgan, E O'Malley, F McFadden, D Kearney; S Berne, I Boss; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, C Newland, L Cullen (capt), T Hogan, R Ruddock, S Jennings, S Keogh.

Replacements: I Madigan for Berne (75), J McGrath for van der Merwe (71), J Harris-Wright for Strauss (41), M Ross for Newland (41), E O’Donoghue for Hogan (41), P O’Donohoe for R. Ruddock (80), D Ryan for Keogh (66).

DRAGONS: P Leach; W Harries, T Cheeseman, A Smith, A Hughes; J Tovey, W Evans; P Price, T Willis (capt), N Hall; S Morgan, R Sidoli; A Jones, G Thomas, L Evans.

Replacements: R Gomer-Davies for Cheeseman (70), J Leadbeater for Hughes (80), M Jones for Tovey (71), L Burns for Willis (49), D Way for Hall (73), L Charteris for Morgan (61), H Ellis for A Jones (70)

Referee: Stefano Penne (Italy).

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