O’Driscoll and Leinster back in business with bonus point win
A nice move off the tail of the ensuing lineout led to deft hands by Devin Toner releasing Dave Kearney, and Leinster pounded through the phases before O’Driscoll drew two men and Seán Cronin scored with a strong inside line off the delayed pass.
Warburton had one steal off Heaslip but after another good O’Driscoll carry Madigan landed the penalty. From a big maul off the restart, the lively Isaac Boss skinned Matthew Rees and the crowd revelled in O’Driscoll’s one-handed behind the back flick to Roux.
Another Madigan penalty, was cancelled out by Halfpenny and at half-time Leinster would have been irked not to have made more of half a dozen clear line breaks, including another one by O’Driscoll.
Resuming with increased intent, Heaslip rumbled, Noel Reid sidestepped and Madigan danced toward the line before Filo Paulo was binned for killing the ball. Opting for the scrum yielded seven points when the depleted Cardiff pack buckled and Mitrea marched under the posts.
However, Cuthbert brought Cardiff vibrantly to life when running around Rob Kearney and inside Fergus McFadden to score from 50 metres out in almost the blink of an eye. He nearly put Harry Robinson over too to draw the sides level after Owen Williams’ stunning offload to Patchell.
But, helped by Toner blocking Lloyd Williams’ box kick, who then held the lock back for a penalty, Madigan kicked to the corner. From Tom Denton’s take, Ryan peeled off to reward a good night’s work and shortly after O’Driscoll was roared off, Ryan broke from another lineout ball and Madigan left Cuthbert clutching the air before muscling through Halfpenny. An intercept try for Cory Allen hardly mattered.
LEINSTER: R Kearney; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, N Reid, D Kearney; I Madigan, I Boss; C Healy, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, Q Roux, R Ruddock, D Ryan, J Heaslip (C). Replacements: M Ross for Moore, T Denton for Roux (both 63 mins), A Dundon for Cronin, J McGrath for Healy, J Murphy for Ruddock, J Cooney for Boss (all 69 mins), B Macken for (73 mins), J Gopperth for Madigan (76 mins).
CARDIFF BLUES: L Halfpenny; A Cuthbert, O Williams, D Hewitt, H Robinson; R Patchell, L Williams; S Hobbs, M Rees (capt), T Filise, L Reed, F Paulo, J Nividi, S Warburton, A Pretorius. Replacements: T Davies for Hobbs (59 mins), J Down for Reed, R Copeland for Navidi, C Allen for Hewitt (all 69 mins), K Dacey for Down (72 mins), L Jones for L Williams (76 mins). Not used: S Andrews, G Davies. Sinbinned: Paulo (47-57 mins).
Referee: M Mitrea (FIR).