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Leinster Back To Winning Ways

Leinster Back To Winning Ways

Leinster notched a four-try glut in the first half of Saturday’s Celtic League clash with Cardiff to mark their first outing at the RDS with a 34-15 win.

The RDS under floodlights on Saturday

Leinster notched a four-try glut in the first half of Saturday’s Celtic League clash with Cardiff to mark their first outing at the RDS with a 34-15 win.

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CELTIC LEAGUE: Saturday, October 15

Leinster 34 Cardiff Blues 15, RDS (Att: 7,000)

Scorers: Leinster: Tries: Felipe Contepomi, Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy, Ben Gissing 2; Cons: Contepomi 3; Pen: Contepomi

Cardiff: Pens: Nicky Robinson 5

Michael Cheika’s side sit fourth in the league table after they blew some of the cobwebs off last weekend’s mauling by Munster. It was a far from perfect display but five tries will go a long way to boosting the province for next Saturday’s Heineken Cup opener against Bath.

On a night of some note with veteran Ireland prop Reggie Corrigan making his 100th appearance for the province, it was fitting that Cheika’s charges managed to gain their first bonus point of the campaign.

Leinster are switching from Donnybrook to the purpose-built Royal Dublin Society stadium for their Heineken Cup games this season and their dress rehearsal for the Bath tie, which will draw a sell-out 13,500 crowd, went without a hitch.

Tries from captain Felipe Contepomi, Lions duo Shane Horgan and Gordon D’Arcy and Auckland-born lock Ben Gissing saw Leinster rack up their bonus point in little over 34 minutes.

Gissing lurched over for his second and Leinster’s fifth try at the death as the Blues lived off the beef of five Nicky Robinson penalties.

Horgan galloped down the right wing on three minutes to set up Leinster’s first score. The Irish centre, lining out on the wing, deftly chipped through for Contepomi to charge on, hack ahead and touch down under pressure from Blues skipper Rhys Williams.

The Argentinean added the conversion but some indiscipline from the home side allowed Robinson to keep the Welsh region in touch from penalties. He drove over twice in three minutes.

However, Cardiff’s inability to carve out try-scoring opportunities was crucial. Horgan brilliantly sliced through the Blues defence on 17 minutes, having dummied a pass, to score Leinster’s second try.

Contepomi converted and, although Robinson answered further tries from D’Arcy and Gissing, there was little doubt, with Leinster 26-12 in front at the break, who the eventual winners were going to be.

D’Arcy’s effort came from another chip ahead as he beat Williams in a 20-metre race for the touchdown on 29 minutes.

Gissing ploughed over Craig Morgan from short range for his first, five minutes later.

Robinson’s fourth penalty, seven minutes after the restart, reduced the arrears to 11 points. With USA Eagle Kort Schubert on the field, the Blues were getting a little more change out of the Leinster pack but there was still no significant dent in the home side’s lead.

The league’s top scorer Contepomi added a penalty on the hour-mark.

Although the final quarter was soured a little by sin-binnings for Cardiff scrum half Mike Phillips and Leinster substitute prop Ronan McCormack – for separate off-the-ball incidents – Gissing did touch down another chip through, on this occasion from flanker Keith Gleeson, in injury time.

There were downsides to the maiden win at the RDS – fly half Christian Warner (knee) and scrum half Brian O’Riordan (shoulder), amongst others like D’Arcy and Bernard Jackman, were all called ashore in the second half with an injury or other. Whether any of them are to miss the Bath game should become clearer as the week progresses.

LEINSTER: Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy (Kieran Lewis 71), Felipe Contepomi (Capt), Denis Hickie; Christian Warner (Robert Kearney 43), Brian O’Riordan (Brian O’Meara 75); Reggie Corrigan, David Blaney (Bernard Jackman 71), Will Green (Ronan McCormack half-time), Ben Gissing, Bryce Williams (Cameron Jowitt 71), Ciaran Potts, Keith Gleeson, Jamie Heaslip.

CARDIFF BLUES: Rhys Williams (Capt); Chris Czekaj (R Powell 76), Jamie Robinson, Tristan Davies, Craig Morgan; Nicky Robinson, Mike Phillips (Czekaj 80+1); John Yapp, Gareth Williams, Ben Evans, Deiniol Jones, Robert Sidoli, Maama Molitika, Martyn Williams, Xavier Rush.

Referee: Andrew Ireland (Scotland); Sin-bin: Mike Phillips (Cardiff) (70 mins), Ronan McCormack (Leinster) (72)