Leinster scoring blitz adds bonus to win over Edinburgh

Fergus McFadden grabs two tries as Leo Cullen’s side extend lead at top

Leinster 30 Edinburgh 23

Leinster will be disappointed with a couple of the tries Edinburgh scored against them but they always had another gear in a match where they found expression in the second half.

A quiet first half but sparkling in the final 40, the home side were never in doubt about collecting a bonus-point win and holding the top position in the league table.

The first quarter saw Edinburgh spend long periods in the Leinster 22. But the home side don’t have the best numbers for defence for nothing and by the end of those opening exchanges Leinster were 6-3 ahead.


Two lone attacks from Leo Cullen's side yielded two penalties in front of the posts, which Ian Madigan had little difficulty converting after Jason Tovey's first score on four minutes.

Leinster were playing into the breeze and in the early stages a low setting sun shining down the pitch from the Dodder River end of the ground had Luke Fitzgerald shielding his eyes as Leinster set up their backline moves.

There were strong runs from Ben Te'o and Jordi Murphy with lock Mick Kearney also getting the ball going forward. Fitzgerald threatened and the two or three times he got on the ball in space he found gaps where he had no real right.

But a few times too often in the first half handling in the final phase turned ball over and Leinster were sent back down the pitch to start it all over again.

They might have got frustrated but it didn’t show and even on 30 minutes when they remained locked at 6-3, there was an air of patience and even inevitability about the way the game was going to shape.

When flanker Jamie Richie was binned on 34 minutes for going off his feet Leinster sensed opportunity. A lineout inside the Edinburgh 22 went to the back and the home side poured up the pitch to the Scottish try line.

Several players picked and drove but Edinburgh had the bodies willing to meet them head on, Italian referee Marius Mitrea blowing for an Edinburgh scrum and the ball then cleared.

By then anxiety was creeping into the fans anyway, one of them screaming during a lull ‘Come on Leinster, you’re not in Coppers, give it a lash.’

A long, hopeful pass from Madigan to Fitzgerald bouncing into touch closed the first half with Leinster 6-3 ahead.

It took just three minutes of the second half for Leinster to come alive and settle into a more comfortable lead when Madigan deftly turned the ball inside after shaping up to let it out the line. Fitzgerald took in on at pace and galloped off, finding Luke McGrath inside him under the posts.

But good was quickly followed by bad and a brief few moments of relaxation from Leinster allowed Edinburgh back in, a seemingly innocuous skip pass to winger Tom Brown on 47 minutes and Leinster were stung back with a try.

It was the most active period of the match as Leinster went straight back for their second try, Noel Reid intercepting and sending Josh van der Flier on the long sort of run he only does at training. That was a seven-minute spell and three tries with Leinster leading 20-8.

Fergus McFadden joined the growing list of Leinster try scorers on 57 minutes for 25-8 and again on 64 mins as Leinster sparked.

In a kind of tit for tat of dotting down Sean Kennedy also scored an intercept try, reading Madigan's pass to Fitzgerald between McFadden's brace and then a soft one, the Leinster defence missing a tackle.

It went McFadden, Kennedy, McFadden, Kennedy and Leinster were leading 30-20 with 19 minutes remaining, with just a penalty from Edinburgh to make it 30-23 at the close.

Leinster have two matches remaining before the play-offs. They meet Ulster in Belfast on April 30th and Treviso at home on May 7th

SCORING SEQUENCE – 4 mins Tovey pen 0-3; 8 mins Madigan pen 3-3; 11 mins Madigan pen 6-3. Half-time. 43 mins L McGrath try, Madigan con 13-3; 47 mins Brown try 13-8; 50 mins Van der Flier try, Madigan con 20-8; 57 mins McFadden try 25-8; 61 mins Kennedy try, Tovey con 25-15; 64 mins McFadden try 30-15; 71 mins Kenneddy try 30-20; 79 mins Tovey pen 30-23.

LEINSTER: R Kearney; F McFadden, B Te'o, N Reid, L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, L McGrath; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross; R Molony, M Kearney; R Ruddock (capt), J Van der Flier, J Murphy.

Replacements: D Ryan for Ruddock, P Dooley for Healy, T Furlong for Ross (all 54 mins); D Toner for Moloney, E Reddan for L McGrath, C Marsh for Madigan (all 65 mins); D Kearney for Fitzgerald, Healy for Dooley (both 76 mins); Fitzgerald for McFadden (77 mins).

EDINBURGH: B Kinghorn; D Hoyland, C Dean, P Burleigh, P Brown; J Tovey, S Hildago-Clyne; A Dickinson, R Ford (capt), WP Nel; A Breseler, B Toolis; J Richie, J Hardie, C Du Preez.

Replacements: M Allan for Dean, S Kennedy for Burleigh (both 41 mins); A Toolis for Bresler (52 mins); S McInally for Ford (54 mins); H Watson for Hardie (60 mins); J Andress for Nel, R Sutherland for Dickenson (both 66 mins); M Bradbury for Kinghorn (73 mins). Yellow cards: J Richie (34 mins).

Referee: M Mitrea (Italy).

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson

Johnny Watterson is a sports writer with The Irish Times