Leinster rout Scarlets in heavy forward-dominate game
URC MATCH REPORT: Leinster’s forwards hogged six of the seven tries for themselves in a runaway 50-15 victory over the Scarlets at the RDS.
Two slick scores from Johnny McNicholl and debutant Tomas Lezana kept Scarlets in the contest at 29-15, but Leinster powered home with closing tries from replacements Cian Healy and Dan Sheehan (two).
A late penalty try had given the hosts a 22-8 half-time lead, and Caelan Doris claimed the bonus point to add to earlier efforts from Ronan Kelleher and the excellent Andrew Porter.
Sam Costelow, who struggled last Sunday against Munster, slotted over an early penalty for the visitors. In a pacy start, Johnny Sexton levelled in the seventh minute.
A scrum penalty in their own 22 got the Scarlets out of trouble, before Ioan Nicholas was the beneficiary of Johnny Williams’ brilliant offload out of a tackle and the supporting McNicholl scorched over from the edge of the Leinster 22.
That was the highlight of the first half for the Scarlets, their 8-3 lead lasting until the 23rd minute when Kelleher drove over from a line-out maul.
A terrific break from deep by returning Lion Jack Conan ignited the Leinster attack again, and a few minutes later Porter plunged over from a ruck. Sexton converted for a 15-8 lead.
The Leinster pack dominated approaching the interval, some late scrum pressure earning a penalty try to open up a 14-point gap.
Hooker Kelleher was the creator for the bonus-point score, showing great speed and strength to tidy up a loose ball and break past three defenders before sending Doris crashing over. The conversion followed from Ciaran Frawley.
Some excellent hands – and a neat step inside and offload from McNicholl – set up a timely reply from Argentinean flanker Lezana. Replacement Dan Jones converted to leave it 29-15.
The penalties continued to hurt Scarlets, though, as Leinster got back in range for Healy to finish off a series of pick-and-drives.
Fellow replacement Ross Byrne converted and also added the extras to Sheehan’s well-taken closing brace. The Scarlets finished the game with 13 men having lost McNicholl to the sin bin and Lezana to injury.
Tries: Kelleher, Porter, Doris, Healy, Sheehan 2, Penalty try
Cons: Sexton, Frawley, Byrne 3, penalty try does not require a conversion
Tries: McNicholl, Lezana
Yellow card: Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets, 70)
Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ciarán Frawley, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rónan Kelleher, 1 Andrew Porter.
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Jimmy O’Brien.
Scarlets: 15 Ioan Nicholas, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 WillGriff John, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Tom Rogers.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Shane Kierans (Ireland)
TMO: Paul Larter (Scotland)
Source: PA & RugbyPass