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In Pics: Leinster 30 Llanelli 22

In Pics: Leinster 30 Llanelli 22

Click here for photos from Leinster’s Celtic League win over Llanelli Scarlets at Lansdowne Road on Good Friday.

Pictured above: Leinster and Ireland’s Gordon D’Arcy feels the crunch in a double hit from Vernon Cooper and Iestyn Thomas of Llanelli at Lansdowne Road. The 26-year-old D’Arcy has scored three tries in 8 Celtic League appearances so far this season.

Leinster’s win – their eighth in nine games in all competitions – bolstered their lead at the top of the League table to three points. Ulster (56 points), who have a game in hand, and Munster (52) are their chief chasers.

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Scarlets captain Dafydd James goes on the attack.

Leinster coach Michael Cheika was satisfied with his side’s performance as they went on to grab a bonus point win after conceding three first half tries. The Australian said: “If we played in all our matches the way we played in the first half, we would probably be at the bottom of the Celtic League instead of at the top. But after assessing the situation, I was delighted the way the guys responded in the second half.”

Leinster lock Bryce Williams tries to fend off the challenge of Llanelli’s Regan King. It was a double celebration for the 6ft 7in Williams on Friday night as he turned 26. The former Auckland Blue has 20 Leinster caps to his name, including 13 in the Celtic League.

Leinster number 8 Jamie Heaslip is tackled by Scarlets duo Dafydd James and Gavin Thomas. A nominee for the IRB World Under-21 Player of the Year in 2004, Heaslip has played in 15 of Leinster’s Celtic League games this season, scoring two tries – against Connacht and the Border Reivers.

Out-half Felipe Contepomi, who was making his 50th appearance for Leinster on Friday night, passes ahead of Llanelli scrum half Clive Stuart Smith. Contepomi is still the League’s top scorer this season with 231 points – the Argentinian kicked two conversions and two penalties against the Scarlets.

Ireland’s most-capped player Malcolm O’Kelly tackles Regan King of Llanelli. Friday marked O’Kelly’s 99th appearance for Leinster – will his 100th coincide with a fairytale win for Cheika’s lot against Munster next Sunday?

Denis Hickie competes for a high ball with Llanelli full-back Lee Byrne. The 30-year-old Ireland winger remains joint-top try scorer in Celtic League history with 21 touchdowns – Jason Forster (Dragons) and Matthew Watkins (Llanelli) are level with the Dubliner. Hickie has scored three in 11 League outings in 2005/06.

Perhaps with a nod to a future career, Hickie can be heard presenting on 2FM on Friday nights for the next two weeks – April 21 and 28 – as he fills in for DJ Jenny Huston on “The Waiting Room” show (8-10pm).

Hickie made his debut on the airwaves last Friday night, although the show was recorded for obvious reasons! It included a live set by California-based band We Are Scientists from the NME Award Winners’ tour in Belfast.

**All photos by Billy Stickland of Inpho Photography**