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Leinster beat Treviso to set up Pro12 semi-final at home to Ulster

Leinster will host Ulster in a mouth-watering all-Irish Guinness Pro12 semi-final after recording a comprehensive 50-19 win over Benetton Treviso at the RDS.

Leo Cullen's side topped the table thanks to their bonus-point success, edging clear of both Connacht and Glasgow Warriors and earning home advantage for their May 20 duel with their provincial rivals in Dublin.

Jonathan Sexton's early try and a brace from hooker Richardt Strauss had Leinster 17-0 clear of the Italians by half-time and a Jack McGrath score sealed the bonus point for the three-time champions.

Treviso had touchdowns from Marco Lazzaroni, Matteo Muccignat and Enrico Bacchin but further tries from Isa Nacewa, Mick Kearney, Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose had the hosts well out of reach.

The Blues, who lost heavily to Ulster (30-6) in Belfast last week, opened the scoring on nine minutes when a sweeping move on the left wing involving Nacewa and both Rob and Dave Kearney was finished over the line by fly-half Sexton.

A rolling maul at the end of the first quarter saw the industrious Strauss claim a pushover try and he then exploited a gap in the Treviso defence for his second try in the 26th minute. Sexton successfully added the conversion after two previous misses.

It seemed like only a matter of time before Leinster pocketed their bonus point and it came when prop McGrath scored from close range just five minutes into the second period. Sexton, who picked up a heavy knock in an off-the-ball incident with Treviso replacement Lazzaroni, had to go off so captain Nacewa slotted the extras.

A superb score from Nacewa - his eighth try of the league campaign - put further daylight between the sides after 51 minutes, and young second-rower Mick Kearney followed up with his first score in Leinster colours.

Lazzaroni finally got Treviso off the mark entering the final quarter, but a brilliantly sidestepping run from Reid kept the scoreboard ticking over for Cullen's charges.

A resilient Treviso added tries through replacements Muccignat and Bacchin in the 72nd and 77th minutes respectively, and although injuries to Rob Kearney and Sexton will be of concern to Cullen, he would have been pleased to see young centre Ringrose complete a productive afternoon with his third try for the province.


From Belfast Telegraph