Leinster notch bonus-point win

Leinster 27 Newport Gwent Dragons 6

Leinster 27 Newport Gwent Dragons 6

Leinster fired themselves back into the Magners League top four as they collected a bonus-point win against a disappointing Dragons outfit at the RDS.

Shane Horgan scored two tries to jump to second on the league’s list of all-time top try-scorers with 33 touchdowns.

Half-backs Shaun Berne and Isaac Boss also crossed the visitors’ whitewash, with Isa Nacewa kicking the rest of Leinster’s points.

The men of Gwent had precious few scoring chances, save for a dominant spell towards the end of the first half, and two penalties from out-half Jason Tovey was all they could muster.

Set free on the right, man-of-the-match Horgan brushed past Will Harries and popped a pass for the supporting Berne to ghost over for the game’s opening try after just three minutes.

Nacewa added the conversion and an eighth-minute penalty, before a dropped pass in the Leinster 22 and solid hit by Pat Leach on Horgan led to the Dragons winning a kickable penalty. Tovey obliged from in front of the posts for a 10-3 scoreline.

Nacewa failed to punish Dragons captain Tom Willis for an offside decision, pushing a penalty attempt away to the left of the posts. But a classy break from Fergus McFadden again showed Leinster’s threat out wide.

Berne returned the favour to Horgan, in the 26th minute, when his cross-field kick out to the right corner found the big winger in acres of space, and Nacewa followed up with the conversion.

The Dragons pressed through their forwards and Leinster had their captain Leo Cullen sin-binned for taking out a support player as Scott Morgan gathered a lineout ball, near the hosts’ line.

However, the Dragons could not take advantage of the extra man. They blew a three-to-one overlap on the left after a good carry from Adam Hughes, and the winger was then closed down by the covering David Kearney as he fielded Tovey’s punt to the corner.

From 17-3 down at half-time, the Dragons renewed their efforts for the second period and Tovey converted the second of two shots on goal, after Hughes had wriggled free from a tackle.

Leinster seized control again coming up to the hour. Their number eight Stephen Keogh was inches away from scoring, before Gavin Thomas saw yellow for not rolling away after the tackle and the Dragons’ defence could not hold out.

Boss spotted space and passed for Horgan to hand off Harries and notch his second try which went unconverted.

The scrum-half got in on the try-scoring act with 11 minutes remaining. McFadden and Eoin O’Malley, who impressed at centre, were involved in the build-up to send Boss scampering over to the right of the posts.

The well-beaten Dragons had nothing left in the tank, and Leinster eased to their sixth successive win in all competitions.

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