Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Sexton kicks Leinster to second

Leinster 26 Scarlets 15: Jonny Sexton overcame the pain of international exclusion with a fine display as Leinster kept their Magners League campaign on track with another win.

Joe Schmidt's side never really clicked against the Scarlets, but they did more than enough and are now up to second.

Rhys Priestland missed an early drop-goal as the Scarlets started well, but it was the Blues who made the breakthrough with Niall Morris touching down. Isa Nacewa kicked the hosts into position and Fergus McFadden carried well, before the duo combined to feed Morris who shrugged off Priestland to score.

Sexton added the conversion and after Priestland missed a penalty the Ireland fly-half pinned the Welshmen back with his kicking from hand.

He added a penalty to make the score 10-0, but they failed to kick on. Leo Cullen was forced off and it was the Welsh side who scored before the break as Priestland landed a penalty.

Sexton cancelled that out within three minutes of the restart after Scarlets went over the top. He then added a more difficult kick to extend the lead.

Leinster went on the attack from a '22 dropout, with Devin Toner leaping to collect and McFadden kicked over. Scarlets again killed the ball and Sexton made it 19-3.

The visitors hit back with a deserved try when Rhys Thomas buried over to score after a driving run from Ben Morgan and Priestland added the extras.

McFadden surprised every one by tapping a kickable penalty and after Gareth Maule killed the ball on the line, he was sent to the sin bin and the Blues took the scrum.

They drove the visitors back and Isaac Boss went through Gareth Davies and over. Sexton converted and although Nick Reynolds crossed for a late try for the Scarlets it was too late.

Meanwhile, Connacht enjoyed a 31-25 home win over Treviso.

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