Leinster ease past Cardiff
MATCH REPORT: Sean Cronin made an early bid for the try of the weekend as the hooker put in a 50-metre sprint to dot down in Leinster's 37-9 defeat of Cardiff Blues.
Thirteen of Leinster's points came from the boot of Ross Byrne, with James Tracy coming from the midst of a maul to score the home side's first try.
It was a valiant defensive effort from the Welsh team in the first half, but the pressure from the hosts only intensified as the game went on and they earned a bonus point with four tries.
Byrne seemed more mature than his 22 years, showing impressive awareness as he sent a cross-field kick to Barry Daly for Leinster's third try before Nick McCarthy crossed the whitewash for the fourth.
Cardiff Blues were the first to get on the board, against the run of play, as Steven Shingler slotted a penalty on his first start of the season before mistakes from the Leinster scrum allowed him to double the lead in the 28th minute.
Leinster soon settled the score when a line-out on the five-metre line brought the first try of the game, with Tracy, a new addition to the starting XV this week, the man to dot down from a driving maul.
Byrne made no mistake with the conversion to claim a narrow lead for his side before a tackle off the ball from Josh Navidi gave the flyhalf a chance to extend Leinster's lead as the first half drew to a close.
Danny Wilson's men were quick to respond at the beginning of the second half, winning a penalty to allow Shingler to bring his side to within one point of the hosts.
But Byrne came straight back to add six more points, bouncing the ball off both posts and eventually finding a way through to claim the first three.
Cronin looked like anything but a 105kg forward as he pinched the ball from the visitors at the breakdown and covered half the pitch to score.
While Daly, on for Rob Kearney, was equally as athletic as he leaped into the air to catch Byrne's kick one-handed and add another score for the hosts.
Leinster soon found more holes in the Cardiff Blues' defence, making swift offloads to help Nick McCarthy get over in a slick team try.
Tries: Tracy, Cronin, Daly, McCarthy
Cons: Byrne 4
Pens: Byrne 3
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Shingler 3
Yellow card: Isa Nacewa (Leinster, 21)
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O'Loughlin, 12 Isa Nacewa (captain), 11 Jordan Larmour, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Bent, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Barry Daly.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Rhun Williams, 14 A Cuthbert, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Tom James, 10 Steve Shingler, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Keiron Assiratti, 2 Matthew Rees (captain), 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 James Down, 20 Sion Bennett, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Matthew Morgan.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy, Eddie Hagan-O'Connell (both Ireland)
TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)