Leinster ‘A’ got their British & Irish Cup campaign back on track when registering ten tries in a comprehensive 65-13 win over the Scarlets Premiership Select at Donnybrook.
Hugh Hogan's charges suffered a 29-21 reversal at the hands of Nottingham at the same venue in October, but with the Scarlets side having secured bonus point victories over Nottingham and Richmond, they needed to issue a strong statement of intent.
Indeed, the visitors went close to breaking the deadlock in the fifth minute, but former Cardiff full-back Tom Williams was snuffed out by the retreating Leinster ‘A’ defence. This was a minor let-off for the young home side who were playing under the watchful eye of Leinster head coach Leo Cullen.
The province duly opened the scoring just three minutes later when a neat offload from scrum half Charlie Rock led to Tom Daly dotting down on the left. Daly, who has made three PRO12 appearances since his last run-out with the ‘A’ team, also converted from a tight angle.
The Carlow man stepped forward to take a difficult long range penalty in the 12th minute and split the posts in clinical fashion. Although the Scarlets PS replied with a routine place-kick by inside centre Billy McBryde at the start of the second quarter, his opposite number Daly found a gap at the other end of the pitch to claim his second converted try of the contest.
The hosts were constantly forcing the Scarlets onto the back foot, and it came as no surprise when their third try arrived on 28 minutes. A powerful attacking maul on the right flank was finished off by prop Andrew Porter, and although Daly was off target with his conversion, Leinster ‘A’ were already 22-3 to the good.
Following a massive break by out-half Jimmy O'Brien on the half hour mark, Scarlets centre Steff Hughes was sent to the sin-bin. Leinster ‘A’ full-back Hugo Keenan eventually touched down from a neat Rock pass at the end of the resulting attack.
Fresh from his senior debut against the Newport Gwent Dragons last Saturday, Rock was making a major impression on the play, and his sublime box kick, six minutes before the interval, was finished over the line by onrushing captain Peadar Timmins.
Daly’s successful conversion brought his personal haul up to 21 points, and thanks to an unconverted score by his centre partner Jack Kelly – following a prolonged move inside the Welsh outfit's 22 – Leinster 'A' brought a seemingly insurmountable 41-3 cushion into the second period.
Terenure College prop Oisin Heffernan was introduced into the front row after the restart (in place of Jeremy Loughman), and Leinster ‘A’ did well to maintain their attacking momentum in the third-quarter.
Rock was the architect for his side's seventh try with 50 minutes on the clock, the excellent Jordan Larmour breaking free of the Scarlets cover to increase the hosts' lead. A fifth Daly conversion followed before the visitors finally responded with their only try of the game.
After out-half Jack Maynard opted for touch, an enterprising lineout maul was finished off by flanker Josh Macleod. McBryde missed the conversion and Leinster 'A' got back in the scoring groove 16 minutes from time, as Max Deegan – another senior debutant last week – scored from another incisive attack on the right.
As the final whistle approached, Leinster 'A' introduced a raft of players from the replacements bench, but with competition for places proving to be strong, they continued to press for scores.
Winger Larmour completed his brace at the end of a lung-bursting run in the 72nd minute, and this was supplemented a minute later by a touchdown from Jack Power who combined effectively with fellow replacement Jamie Glynn.
Ciaran Frawley, Glynn’s half-back partner at UCD, got on the scoresheet with a conversion and despite conceding a late try to the Scarlets' Williams, it was a case of mission accomplished for the two-time B&I Cup champions.
Referee: Ben Blain (England)