Lowe inspires Leinster to win over Scarlets
PRO14 REPORT: All Blacks star James Lowe scored two tries as Leinster moved clear at the top of Conference B with a 20-13 win over Scarlets at the RDS Arena.
Johnny McNicholls opened the scoring for Scarlets before two Lowe tries and a Luke McGrath score put the home side on top.
Leinster exacted some revenge on Scarlets after losing in the PRO14 semi-finals at home last season.
Looking to regain top spot in the Conference B standings, Scarlets started strongly with Tadhg Beirne looking particularly impressive, winning turnovers from the off.
After 10 minutes, Scarlets went in front when McNicholl touched down in the corner after great hands in the back line, with Dan Jones adding the conversion.
Soon after Lowe found the corner for a try of his own, showing great strength to hold off Corey Baldwin’s tackle.
Five minutes before half-time, Leinster took the lead, again through Lowe, but it was Scott Fardy, whose lineout steal and subsequent kick charge down that created the try-scoring opportunity.
Scarlets struggled from the lineout all afternoon, with Ryan Elias penalised on more than one occasion for not throwing the ball in straight by referee
Lowe turned provider shortly after the break as he held off defenders on the wing to play in Luke McGrath to score with a lovely offload.
Scarlets struggled to find a way back in to the game, as Leinster’s kicking game came to the fore.
Nick McCarthy and Ciaran Frawley both came off the bench and looked composed with the boot – McCarthy from the hand and Frawley from the tee.
Frawley, making his senior debut for Leinster, played a crucial role in taking the game away from Scarlets with a conversion and penalty.
Scarlets came close to a late try after great work from Tom Williams and Paul Asquith, breaking from one 22 to the other.
A penalty followed and Jones slotted between the posts to give Scarlets a crucial losing bonus point.
Tries: Lowe 2, McGrath
Pens: Jones 2
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Max Deegan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Oisín Heffernan, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Will Connors, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Barry Daly.
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Paul Asquith, 12 Steff Hughes (captain), 11 Ioan Nicholas, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Josh Macleod, 7 James Davies, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Dylan Evans.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Phil Price, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Declan Smith, 22 Corey Baldwin, 23 Tom Williams.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Jonathan Peak (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)