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Leinster's young guns show Dragons no mercy

Leinster 54 Dragons 10

By Cian Tracey

It's the hope that kills you and so the Dragons found out to their detriment last night as Leinster gave the Welsh side a glimmer of hope before crushing them.

Bernard Jackman's homecoming was spoiled as his side were handed a staggering 29th consecutive league defeat on the road, but this was all about Leinster and their young guns.

Trailing 10-0 early on, the hosts were ruthless in mounting a comeback that saw them score eight tries and wrap up the bonus shortly after the half-hour mark. First-half tries from Jamison-Gibson Park, fit again skipper Isa Nacewa, Josh Murphy and Max Deegan set Leinster on their way to an emphatic 54-10 victory.

The win keeps Leinster in touch at the top of Conference B as they bounced back in convincing fashion from the defeat to Glasgow last time out.

However, the opening quarter of an hour was as poor as Leo Cullen's side have played all season and they were duly punished for their sloppy start.

Gavin Henson clipped over a neat drop goal after four minutes before James Benjamin crashed over. Henson's conversion put his side 10-0 in front.

Byrne's break relieved the pressure and when Noel Reid's cross-kick found Fergus McFadden, he fed Sean Cronin who was stopped short.

There was no stopping Gibson-Park however, as he crept over from close range.

Byrne added the extras and did so again 11 minutes later when Nacewa marked his comeback from an ankle injury with a try in the corner.

That put the hosts in front for the first time (14-10) and they kept their foot on the throttle.

After a fine Ed Byrne break, Leinster won a penalty, which they kicked to the corner. Murphy was driven over from the resulting maul for his first try for his home province.

A 28-10 half-time lead got even better eight minutes after the restart. Angus O'Brien went to the bin for a deliberate knock-on close to his own line with the referee awarding a penalty try.

Nacewa got over for his second try, Leinster's sixth, four minutes later. Byrne's unerring accuracy put them 42-10 in front.

Jordan Larmour continued his rise by scoring a seventh with 10 minutes left. Larmour then turned creator with an exquisite break to put Rory O'Loughlin over and end the rout.

Belfast Telegraph


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