Leinster too strong for dogged Newport
September 8, 2012
Shane Jennings was one of five try scorers in Leinster's win over Newport Dragons
© Getty Images
European champions Leinster scored five tries to Newport Dragons' three to take the spoils in a non-stop 45-25 victory that means they can put their opening day loss to the Scarlets behind them.
Andrew Conway and Ben Marshall scored tries before half-time for Leinster and Shane Jennings, Fion Carr and Brendan Macken added further touch downs in the second half. For Newport Stefan Jones, Dan Lydiate and Dan Evans scored tries, but they were unable to match Leinster's intensity throughout the 80 minutes.
The Dragons, league leaders after the opening round, were looking for their first win in Ireland since 2008 and went in front thanks to a Tom Prydie penalty, but two sloppy restarts from the Welsh side allowed Leinster to score 10 points in a two-minute spell. Jevon Groves infringed at a ruck to give Madigan the chance to kick Leinster level and from the restart Noel Reid broke from deep to set up Conway's seventh-minute try.
Noel Reid's slashing run cut the Dragons' rearguard wide open, his centre partner Macken provided timely support and a final pass sent winger Conway muscling over to the left of the posts. Madigan converted for a 10-3 turnaround, only for the Dragons to snap back four minutes later with an intercept try from fly-half Jones. He picked off Reid's pass inside his own half and evaded John Cooney's grasp on a long sprint to the line. Prydie supplied the extras to get the visitors back on terms, but Madigan's second penalty in the 16th minute gave Leinster a welcome boost.
Leinster were then penalised for holding on after a quick drop-out though and Prydie sent the penalty through the posts. Joe Schmidt's men came storming back again and Madigan landed a long-range penalty before young flanker Marshall waltzed through for a try after two piercing carries from Sean Cronin. The conversion and an injury-time penalty followed from Madigan, although a poor pass from Cronin spoilt a move that should have led to a third Leinster try.
In the second half a rolling maul from a lineout sent Jennings over in the left corner that Madigan converted and the bonus point was secured by Carr in the 49th minute. Madigan jinked his way into space to set the back-line in motion before looping back around to send Carr over out wide.
The Dragons responded with an equally impressive score. Pat Leach and Evans darted away down the narrow side and put Prydie clear for a five-pointer. Another break down the blindside was rewarded in the 59th minute as Leinster's sloppiness was punished. This time Prydie worked himself free along the touchline and passed inside for full-back Evans who got away from Isa Nacewa to race in close to the posts. Prydie added the extras to make it 38-25.
Andy Tuilagi was making his presence felt in midfield for the Dragons, but Leinster defended stoutly in the closing minutes and Macken's break from his own half was a fitting way to round off an action-packed encounter.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker