Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Leinster keep pressure on Ulster

Fergus McFadden went over for one of Leinster's five tries

Leinster closed to within three points of RaboDirect PRO12 leaders Ulster as five different try-scorers settled a comfortable 41-22 win at Zebre.

Thomas Denton, Fergus McFadden, Fionn Carr, Dominic Ryan and Isa Nacewa all went over in Italy with the hosts getting on the board through Sinoti Sinoti, Daniel Halangalu and Carlo Festuccia.

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton returned from a two-month injury lay-off to add 16 points with the boot while Halangalu kicked seven points.

Sexton and Halangalu exchanged penalties before Denton ran in the first try after 10 minutes. McFadden then seized on a Sexton pass to score Leinster's second.

Zebre wing Sinoti touched down in the 26th minute and Halangulu dotted down under the posts on the stroke of half-time to make it 17-17.

But a Sexton penalty (44) and tries from Carr (46), Ryan (59) and Nacewa (62) arrived without an Italian response after the break.

Replacement hooker Festuccia, who was later yellow carded for striking Isaac Boss, eventually found a way through six minutes from time only for Halangalu to miss the third conversion.

Zebre's 21st defeat of the season leaves them 18 points adrift of Newport-Gwent Dragons at the bottom while Leinster climbed above Glasgow ahead of fifth-placed Ospreys' visit to Dublin on the last day of the regular season.

Leaders Ulster host Cardiff Blues with Leinster hoping to capitalise on any slip-up at Ravenhill to finish top of the pile before the semi-finals begin.

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