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Forward greed as Leinster heavyweights crush Scarlets

By PA
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster’s forwards hogged all seven tries for themselves in a runaway 50-15 United Rugby Championship victory over the Scarlets at the RDS.

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Two slick scores from Johnny McNicholl and debutant Tomas Lezana kept Scarlets in the contest at 29-15, but Leinster powered home with closing tries from replacements Cian Healy and Dan Sheehan (2).

A late penalty try had given the hosts a 22-8 half-time lead, and Caelan Doris claimed the bonus point to add to earlier efforts from Ronan Kelleher and the excellent Andrew Porter.

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Sam Costelow, who struggled last Sunday against Munster, slotted over an early penalty for the visitors. In a pacy start, Johnny Sexton levelled in the seventh minute.

A scrum penalty in their own 22 got the Scarlets out of trouble, before Ioan Nicholas was the beneficiary of Johnny Williams’ brilliant offload out of a tackle and the supporting McNicholl scorched over from the edge of the Leinster 22.

That was the highlight of the first half for the Scarlets, their 8-3 lead lasting until the 23rd minute when Kelleher drove over from a line-out maul.

A terrific break from deep by returning Lion Jack Conan ignited the Leinster attack again, and a few minutes later Porter plunged over from a ruck. Sexton converted for a 15-8 lead.

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The Leinster pack dominated approaching the interval, some late scrum pressure earning a penalty try to open up a 14-point gap.

Hooker Kelleher was the creator for the bonus-point score, showing great speed and strength to tidy up a loose ball and break past three defenders before sending Doris crashing over. The conversion followed from Ciaran Frawley.

Some excellent hands – and a neat step inside and offload from McNicholl – set up a timely reply from Argentinian flanker Lezana. Replacement Dan Jones converted to leave it 29-15.

The penalties continued to hurt Scarlets, though, as Leinster got back in range for Healy to finish off a series of pick-and-drives.

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Fellow replacement Ross Byrne converted and also added the extras to Sheehan’s well-taken closing brace. The Scarlets finished the game with 13 men having lost McNicholl to the sin bin and Lezana to injury.

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