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Ireland flanker Dan Leavy plays a starring role on first start in 19 months as Leinster put eight tries past Edinburgh

By Ciarán Kennedy
Leinster's Dan Leavy. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Dan Leavy capped his first start since March 2019 with a try as Leinster handed out another Guinness Pro14 hiding at the RDS, Leo Cullen’s side scoring eight tries against Edinburgh in a 50-10 win. Having made three appearances off the bench this season, Ireland flanker Leavy was back in the starting XV for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in a Champions Cup win over Ulster over 19 months ago.

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And Leavy made his intent clear from the start, emptying Edinburgh’s Jack Blain with a huge tackle after just two minutes. It set the tone for another dominant performance by the Pro14 champions, who haven’t lost a game in the competition since April 2019.

His display will certainly please Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, while the return of dynamic second-row Ryan Baird will also have been noted, having replaced Leavy in the second half. Baird is uncapped at Test level but was initially named in the Ireland squad for the recent Six Nations fixtures against Italy and France, only to drop out through injury.

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Billy Burns insists no conflict as he prepares to face England
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Billy Burns insists no conflict as he prepares to face England

Leavy was named man of the match despite a second-half hat-trick from wing Cian Kelleher.

The province opened their account here with a typically free-flowing move on 13 minutes. Having gained possession from an overthrown Edinburgh lineout the ball was moved across the pitch to full-back Jimmy O’Brien, who burst down the left at pace before a neat kick into space.

Leavy was on hand to win the turnover in the Edinburgh 22 and the ball was recycled out to O’Brien, who supplied the deft chip behind for Dave Kearney to dot down. Ciaran Frawley stood over the conversation but his kick was taken by the wind.

Kearney was heavily involved in Leinster’s second, too, taking a flat pass on the wing and drawing in the last defender before playing in Luke McGrath, who was left with a clean sprint through.

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Edinburgh finally got on the scoreboard through a Nathan Chamberlain penalty just after the half-hour mark, but any hopes of a fightback were short-lived.

The home side gained the momentum again and killed the game with a quick-fire brace before half-time, Peter Dooley powering over from close range before McGrath bagged his second of the evening after a scintillating step and one-hand offload from Frawley.

Frawley kicked the extras and Leinster went at half-time 26-3 up with the bonus point secured.

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It took them just two minutes to add a fifth try after the break, and it was man of the moment Leavy touching down under the posts.

Things went from bad to worse for the victors as they lost Eroni San to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on. Leinster made them pay with try number six, Harry Byrne’s perfectly measured cross-field kick touched down by the diving Cian Kelleher.

Kelleher bagged his second try of the night five minutes later as Leinster took full advantage of their extra man.

Nic Groom poached a late consolation score for the visitors, but the game had long been over as a contest, and Kelleher wrapped up his hat-trick as the game entered the final five minutes.

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Ireland flanker Dan Leavy plays a starring role on first start in 19 months as Leinster put eight tries past Edinburgh

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