Dan Leavy impresses as Leinster score 50 points against Edinburgh
Ireland backrow scores a try in his first start since returning from serious injury
Leinster’s Dan Leavy celebrates scoring his team’s fifth try. Photograph: Inpho
Leinster 50 Edinburgh 10
The primary number keeps spinning for Leinster as Leo Cullen’s charges racked up a 25th consecutive win in the Pro14 as they thrashed an overmatched Edinburgh side with an eight try salvo.
Dan Leavy had amassed 72 minutes of game time across three matches as a replacement before being handed a starting jersey on Monday night and he was straight into the action, catching the kickoff and then a couple of minutes later crashing through a couple of tackles.
He was prominent throughout, his application rewarded with a try early in the second half before being replaced by a fit again Ryan Baird on 57 minutes but not before claiming the man-of-the-match accolade.
In truth there were several standout individual performances. Jimmy O’Brien has been consistently excellent this season and once again produced an impressive body of work in attack and defence.
Luke McGrath was superb quite apart from his two tries, so too Scott Penny, while the frontrow and the pack in general gave their halfbacks - Harry Byrne ran the game nicely - and three quarters premium possession. Ciaran Frawley offered a polished display at inside centre to supplement his place-kicking prowess, while Cian Kelleher’s hat-trick was a decent reward for his work-rate.
Leinster’s discipline was an issue initially, four in succession costing them possession and territory, the first for going off feet at a ruck, the second for coming in the side at a breakdown, the third for a ‘no arms’ tackle and a fourth for offside from a high ball. Edinburgh kicked to the corner but an overthrow would prove very costly for the visitors.
Leinster worked the ball to fullback O’Brien and from his ‘daisy cutter’ kick into the Edinburgh 22, Leavy won a superb turnover and a couple of phases later O’Brien’s beautifully weighted grubber saw Dave Kearney win the race to dot down. Ciaran Frawley couldn’t land the touchline conversion into a swirling wind.
On 19 minutes Leinster struck again following McGrath’s clever exploitation of the short side from a ruck. The scrumhalf put Kearney away before accepting a return pass to scoot over for a try. Frawley’s conversion was a gem. The next one he landed was more straightforward, improving upon a try from Peter Dooley following a quick tap penalty and right on half-time Leinster recorded their fourth, and bonus point try, a second for McGrath, the scrumhalf demonstrating pace and footwork. Frawley once again converted.
The visitors once again were left to rue conceding possession carelessly as Leinster swept 75-metres, three minutes after the re-start, with Leavy eventually forcing his way over for a try. Frawley’s conversion made it 33-3 and the only consideration at that point was the final score.
The bad news for Edinburgh was that Leinster’s appetite wasn’t sated and they ruthlessly punished most of the Scottish side’s plethora of errors. Leinster’s right wing Kelleher crossed for a brace of tries in a five minute spell and even though Edinburgh responded with a try from replacement scrumhalf, Nic Groome, the home side showed how lethal they are from turnover ball, Penny the creator, Kelleher the beneficiary for his hat-trick.
Scoring sequence - 12 mins: Kearney try, 5-0; 19 mins: McGrath try, Frawley conversion, 12-0; 30 mins: Chamberlain penalty, 12-3; 37: Dooley try, Frawley conversion, 19-3; 39 mins: McGrath try, Frawley conversion, 26-3. Half-time: 26-3. 43 mins: Leavy try, Frawley conversion, 33-3; 48 mins: Kelleher try, 38-3; 53 mins: Kelleher try, Frawley conversion, 45-3; 67 mins: Groome try, Chamberlain conversion, 45-10; 73 mins: Kelleher try, 50-10.
Leinster: J O’Brien; C Kelleher, L Turner, C Frawley, D Kearney; H Byrne, L McGrath; P Dooley, J Tracy, M Bent; D Toner, S Fardy; D Leavy, S Penny, R Ruddock (Capt). Replacements: D Sheehan for Tracy 48 mins; M Milne for Dooley 48 mins; C Parker for Bent 48 mins; J Murphy for Ruddock 48 mins; D Hawkshaw for Byrne 54 mins; H O’Sullivan for McGrath 57 mins; R Baird for Leavy 57 mins; R Molony for Toner 69 mins.
Edinburgh: J Blain; E Sau, M Bennett, C Dean, J Farndale; N Chamberlain, H Pyrgos (Capt); P Schoeman, D Cherry, L-R Atalifo; A Ferreira, A Davidson; M Bradbury, L Crosbie, A Miller. Replacements: J Johnstone for Bennett 22 mins; N Groom for Pyrgos 47 mins; D Gamble for Atalifo 52 mins; M Willemse for Cherry 56 mins; R Darge for Davidson 62 mins; J Hodgson for Ferreira 56 mins; S Grahamslaw, C Shiel for Farndale 69 mins.
Yellow card: E Sau 47 mins.
Referee: C Evans (Wales)