In the first match in the championship to ever be played in at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, Leinster showed no signs of travel sickness.
After the Kings controlled the early stages, Leinster roared back with nine minutes on the clock and after laying siege to the hosts’ defensive line, Ed Byrne and Luke McGrath combined to allow Noel Reid to sneak over the line to bag the first Pro14 try on South African soil, Ross Byrne converting from a tricky angle.
The two teams went hammer and tong from there on out but neither was prepared to concede an inch, with the score remaining 7-3 right through to the half-time break.
The impasse was broken just a few minutes into the second period, however.
Leinster burst into life and outside centre Rory O’Loughlin was able to shake off a tackle to force his way over the whitewash to stretch the visitors’ advantage to five points.
Shortly afterwards, patient play through the phases led to Leo Cullen’s troops continuing their explosion out of the blocks, Jack Conan charging forward to clinch his team’s third try of the afternoon, Ross Byrne successfully adding the extras to make to 19-3.
The blue blitz continued from there on, with O’Loughlin involved as Leinster went wide and sent Joey Carberry over for the visitors’ fourth try, which secured a bonus point.
Byrne converted to put the visitors 23 points to the good and Carberry almost had his second try of the match in the 59th minute, only for the score to be chalked off for a Cian Healey knock-on in the build-up.
However, a fifth Leinster try would arrive in the 72nd minute courtesy of Dave Kearney.
The scoring wasn’t done there however and the Kings finally enjoyed the moment they had been chasing all match – their first Pro14 try at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Jacques Nel was the man to dot down for the home side, the replacement getting himself over the line after good work from Oliver Zono, Ntabeni Dukisa kicking the resultant conversion.
James Tracey almost touched down for Leinster at the death but he was held as he attempted to ground the ball.
For Southern Kings:
Tries: Reid, O’Loughlin, Conan, Carbery, Kearney
Cons: Byrne 3
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Oliver Zono, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Dries van Schalkwyk, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Luvuyo Pupuma, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Petrus Strauss, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Siyabulela Mdaka, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Jacques Nel.
Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 5 James Ryan, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Jordan Larmour.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
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