Leinster earn bonus point in dominant win

Leinster 45 - Scarlets 9: After a first-half arm wrestle, once Leinster found their route to the Scarlets try-line they returned time and again to exploit the gap — four tries in 12 minutes wrapped up this PRO12 clash. Ross Byrne’s crossfield kicks to his wingers in space was the magic bullet for Leinster, and three of their tries in that stunning spell came via that route.
Leinster earn bonus point in dominant win

With Scarlets employing a tightly packed defensive line around the ruck, there was plenty of space on the wings and the out-half executed beautifully for his team.

Joey Carbery was one of the beneficiaries of this tactic as he ran in two tries, while Luke McGrath’s first-half brace had given Leinster a 12-9 interval lead.

Playing at full-back, Carbery was ice cool, while McGrath added to his reputation ahead of a week in Ireland camp.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen was delighted with his troops.

“Ross’s recognition of where the space is and the relationship between Ross and the wingers is really coming on,” said Cullen.

“Scarlets were getting a bit tight defensively, so kicking to Adam (Byrne)’s side of the field in the second-half got us a lot of really good rewards. Adam looked dangerous in the wide spaces, but really good kicking from Ross.

“Joey looked really comfortable.

“He’s just a constant threat, a second pair of hands as well in attack. I thought the relationship worked really well.

“He’s a very comfortable footballer. You can play him in most positions across the backline.” It was far from a routine opening 40 minutes for the league leaders though.

Playing into a strong wind, Leinster struggled to break down Scarlets, who themselves looked bright in attack.

McGrath’s two tries were pivotal in a tricky half. His first a sharp break off the back of the scrum; his second after his own block down of Dan Jones’ clearance kick.

“It was very much about wearing them down,” said Cullen.

“We felt that they were starting to tire on half-time. We get better field position, you’ve the wind at your back and the guys carried with a real intent.”

Armed with that breeze Leinster were awesome at times. After 48 minutes Ross Bryne picked out Fergus McFadden before Rhys Ruddock charged over.

Three minutes later Carbery wrapped up the bonus point after McGrath was stopped short.

Then in the 54th and 59th minutes, Ross Byrne and Adam Byrne combined for carbon copy tries finished off by Carbery and Ed Byrne.

Yet again Jamison Gibson-Park was bright after his arrival and he ran in try number seven at the death.

If you consider that barely a handful of this Leinster team are regarded as first choice, who knows what the next three months could bring as Cullen’s options swell?

Scorers for Leinster:

Tries: L McGrath (2), J Carbery (2), R Ruddock, E Byrne, J Gibson-Park; Cons: R Byrne (5).

Scorers for Scarlets:

Pens: D Jones (3).

LEINSTER:

J Carbery; A Byrne (B Daly 60), Z Kirchner, N Reid (T Daly 56), F McFadden; R Byrne, L McGrath (J Gibson-Park 60); P Dooley (E Byrne 57), R Strauss (c) (B Byrne 57), M Bent (M Ross 49); R Molony, H Triggs (M McCarthy 60); R Ruddock (M Deegan 68), D Leavy, J Conan.

SCARLETS:

J McNicholl; T Williams, S Hughes (J Nicolas 45), H Parkes (c), DTH van der Merwe; D Jones (A Thomas 56), J Evans (D Smith 79); W Jones (L Garrett 69), E Elias (D Hughes 69), W Kruger (N Thomas 49); T Price, T Beirne; A Shingler (R Bernardo 56), J Davies (M Allen 50), W Boyde.

Referee:

N Owens (Wales).

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox