Leinster slay the Dragons
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Leinster cruised to a bonus point victory in their opening Pro14 game of the season to inflict a heavy defeat on Bernard Jackman’s Dragons at Rodney Parade.
Jamison Gibson-Park’s explosive burst over the line helped ease Leo Cullen’s side into a first half lead.
A penalty try and debutant Jordan Larmour’s effort within the first ten minutes of the second half asserted Leinster’s dominance.
Dan Leavy and fly-half Cathal Marsh helped Leinster to bonus points as a Dragons penalty try gave the home side some consolation.
Dragons debutant Gavin Henson made a good start to his career in South Wales as he kicked well but he couldn’t prevent the former league champions easing to victory.
Welsh international Henson endeared himself early to the Rodney Parade crowd as he quickly kicked the Dragons in a lead.
Dragons captain Cory Hill produced a fine first half display as he bravely held the Dragons line firm – cutting out Isa Nacewa’s pass as he surged towards the try line.
But he couldn’t deny last season’s league semi-finalists for long as Gibson-Park threw a fine dummy pass and burst towards the line to give Leinster their opening try of the PRO14 season.
Leinster continued to dominate the ball but an infringement in the scrum allowed Dragons to stay within touching distance of the Dublin-outfit.
A late Ross Byrne penalty just before half-time gave the visitors some breathing space at Rodney Parade.
And the Dublin-based team quickly snuffed out any chance of a comeback with two tries within the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Following a burst from Adam Byrne down the left wing, referee Mike Adamson gave a penalty try to Leinster and a yellow card to Matthew Screech for deliberately collapsing the maul.
Henson continued to produce a fine kicking performance but there was no stopping Leinster’s attacking juggernaut and there was a special moment for Larmour.
Great footwork from Adam Byrne committed the Dragons defence which eventually allowed Larmour to stroll over untouched to assert the away side’s dominance.
The blue wave continued to come and after a series of sustained pressure they secured their bonus point try.
Fine work from substitute Jack Conan as the Irish flanker bulldozed towards the line – splitting a tired Dragons backline.
In a blistering ten phases it eventually resulted in Leavy driving over the whitewash to give Leinster bonus points.
Referee Adamson then gave the home side a penalty try and a yellow card to Adam Byrne for a high tackle on Ashton Hewitt as he surged towards the line.
Their consolation was short-lived as replacement fly-half Marsh cut through Dragons defence to round off the scoring.
For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Tries: Penalty t
Pens: Henson 3
Tries: Gibson-Park, Penalty Try, Larmour, Leavy, Marsh
Cons: R Byrne 2, R Kearney, Marsh
Pens: R Byrne 2
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Harri Keddie, 7 James Benjamin, 6 James Thomas, 5 Cory Hill (captain), 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Luke Garrett, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Rynard Landman, 20 Max Williams, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Angus O'Brien, 23 Jared Rosser.
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O'Loughlin, 12 Isa Nacewa (captain), 11 Jordan Larmour, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 James Ryan, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Barry Daly.
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Lloyd Linton (Scotland), Stuart Kibble (Wales)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)