Pro14: Leinster recover from misfiring first half to hammer Dragons 52-10
|Pro14: Leinster 52-10 Dragons|
|Leinster (17) 52|
|Tries: Cronin, Van der Flier, Gibson-Park 2 , Larmour, Furlong, Fardy Cons: Sexton 6, Reid Pens: Sexton|
|Try: J Williams Con: Robson Pen: Lewis|
Leinster came good in the second half to thump Dragons 52-10 in the Pro14.
Sean Cronin's try helped the home side lead 7-0 but they wasted other chances before Dragons went close to replying.
But during Ross Moriarty's harsh sin-binning for a hit on Johnny Sexton, Josh van der Flier and Jamison Gibson-Park scored either side of half-time.
Jordan Larmour, Gibson-Park, Tadhg Furlong and Scott Fardy added further Leinster tries with Jordan Williams replying with a magnificent try.
Williams charged from his own 10-metre line at the RDS to produce an early candidate for try of the season.
However, the Dragons were left to rue the key five-minute period late in the first half when they were turned over on the Leinster line after a 22-phase attack and also had number eight Moriarty yellow carded.
With the Dragons reduced to 14 during the sin-binning, van der Flier's score deep in injury-time was a hammer blow for the visitors with excellent scrum-half Gibson-Park also scoring during Moriarty's absence.
With Sexton, van der Flier, Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose all returning for the home side after last weekend's defeat by the Scarlets, there was a sense of foreboding going into the game for the Dragons despite their win over Southern Kings last weekend.
But after Cronin produced a typical burst to score Leinster's first try on 10 minutes, the home side misfired for much of the first half.
Robbie Henshaw butchered a glorious chance by going himself instead of finding the over-lapping van der Flier while messy scrum exchanges also saw Leinster lose momentum.
After Sexton accepted a penalty chance to extend Leinster lead to 10-0, Dragons looked set to fight back only for home prop Andrew Porter to produce a turnover right on his own line.
Moriarty's midfield hit on Sexton was a fraction late but the yellow card looked a harsh call by South African referee as Leinster duly made hay with the two tries during the number eight's absence.
As Leinster found their trademark fluency, the outstanding James Ryan produced brillliant off-loads for Jamison-Park's first try and Larmour score with Furlong and Fardy adding further late scores.
Leinster: Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, Seán Cronin, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Max Deegan, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Caelan Doris, Hugh O'Sullivan, Noel Reid, Joe Tomane.
Dragons: Jordan Williams; Dafydd Howells, Adam Warren, Jack Dixon, Hallam Amos; Josh Lewis, Rhodri Williams; Brok Harris, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Matthew Screech, Cory Hill (c), Aaron Wainwright, Nic Cudd, Ross Moriarty
Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Ryan Bevington, Leon Brown, Brandon Nansen, Ollie Griffiths, Tavis Knoyle, Arwel Robson, Jarryd Sage.
Referee: Quinton Immelman (SARU)
Assistant referees: Joy Neville (IRFU), Mark Patton (IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)