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Leinster Make Encouraging Cup Start

Leinster Make Encouraging Cup Start

Out-half Ian Madigan kicked a penalty, five minutes from time, to nudge Leinster to a hard-fought 33-28 victory over Newport in Sunday’s British & Cup Pool A encounter at Rodney Parade.

Blackrock College clubman Andrew Conway touched down in either half as Leinster came away from Rodney Parade with a galvanising opening win in this season's British & Irish Cup.

Paul O'Donohoe scored Leinster's other try, midway through the first half, and his half-back partner Ian Madigan kicked 18 points in all.

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Two penalties from out-half Lewis Robling was all Newport had to show after a well-contested opening 40 minutes.

Leinster took a 23-6 lead into the break, Madigan kicking them ahead with two early penalties before Conway crossed the whitewash following a pacy attack led by his fellow winger David Kearney.

O'Donohoe made it two tries in quick succession, scoring straight off the restart. Argentinian lock Mariano Galarza made the initial incision as Leinster began to show a clinical edge.

Madigan converted both tries and swapped penalties with Robling as Colin McEntee's men turned around with a 17-point advantage. They were particularly effective in broken play, and their defence gave Newport precious few opportunities.

Disappointingly for the visitors, they handed the initiative to Newport in the third quarter as the Welsh side bounced back into contention. They were sparked by a try from number 8 Hugo Ellis, who went over from a five-metre scrum.

Conway showed his finishing skills again with a well-taken 46th minute try, running in from 50 metres out after a loose kick from Newport scrum half James Leadbetter.

Madigan converted, but Leinster were second best for most of the remainder.

Ellis and replacement Rhodri Gomer-Davies, two players who have lined out for the Dragons this season, picked off tries to cut the gap to nine points and set up a grandstand finish.

But Leinster held on to take the match points, with a Madigan penalty making it 33-21. Replacement Nicky Griffiths garnered a late try for the hosts, netting two bonus points for them in the process.

Nonetheless, the Leinster management will have been pleased by a strong collective effort from the forwards, while the backs also displayed real tenacity in attack.

They face Plymouth Albion in the next round of the British & Irish Cup at Donnybrook on Friday, December 10 (kick-off 6.30pm).

Referee: Ross Campbell (England)