Belfast Telegraph

Clinical Leinster slay the Dragons

Leinster 50-15 Newport Dragons

By Alex Lowe

Dave Kearney and James Lowe both touched down twice as defending champions Leinster ran out 50-15 bonus point winners over Dragons in rain-soaked conditions to maintain their perfect Guinness PRO14 record.

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Kearney took his season's haul to five tries in three matches, while 20-year-old academy fly-half Harry Byrne marked his first start with a try and five conversions.

Michael Bent, with his second score in three games, Kearney and Byrne all touched down to establish a 19-8 half-time lead. Dragons deserved to be closer on the scoreboard but an opportunist Jordan Williams try did keep them in contention.

Nonetheless, Leo Cullen's men were in rampant form in the second half. Ronan Kelleher, Lowe's double and replacement Hugh O'Sullivan's try took them to the half-century mark. Owen Jenkins scored Dragons' second try from a last-minute turnover.

The defending champions hit the front in the eighth minute when prop Bent burrowed over. Byrne missed the conversion and Dragons replied with Sam Davies' 19th-minute penalty which rewarded Taine Basham's surging break. It was soon 12-3, though, with winger Kearney finishing off a slick move.

Byrne's first successful conversion was followed a scrappy spell until full-back Williams scored in the left corner.

Leinster's third try was a fortuitous one as referee Andrea Piardi appeared to get in the way of defender Richard Hibbard on the Dragons' line. The converted score from Byrne, who nipped over from a Jamison Gibson-Park pass, was allowed to stand.

The hosts went up through the gears. Hooker Kelleher piled over from a 43rd-minute lineout maul and Kearney added the try of the night soon after.

Lowe sealed try number six, before O'Loughlin's before O'Sullivan swooped to score.

Byrne drilled over both conversions and also added the extras following Lowe's second of the night. Dragons gained some consolation when Jenkins went over for a closing seven-pointer.

Belfast Telegraph


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