Leinster bulldoze Dragons in Dublin
Leinster bulldoze Dragons in DublinSHARE
Defending Pro12 champions Leinster came away with maximum points as they defeated Newport Gwent Dragons 31-19 in Dublin on Friday.
The other game scheduled for Friday, Ulster's match against Scarlets at Ravenhill, was been postponed after referee Leighton Hodges deemed the pitch unplayable.
Heavy rain left the pitch flooded and led to the match being called off.
Plans of playing the game on Saturday were dashed as flights and accommodation for the Scarlets team and match officials could not be arranged.
The match has been rearranged for next month, with March 14 being the likely date.
"It's very unfortunate – we don't remember a match being postponed by rain this last 30 or 40 years," said Ulster chief executive Shane Logan.
"There's been weeks of heavy rain. The match was probably playable at lunchtime but with no respite the referee had no choice but to call it off.
"We hope it be played on March 14, as there's a gap in the programme for that date."
Leinster 31-19 Newport Gwent Dragons
Leinster's power told as two penalty tries helped them continue their fine form and moved them top of the table.
Jack McGrath also got on the scoresheet for Leinster, who were given a sizable scare by two tries in three minutes shortly after the break for the Dragons, but came away with all five points on offer.
It's a fifth win in their last six Pro12 matches for Leinster but while the Dragons had not beaten an Irish province on their travels since 2008, quick-fire tries from Ashley Smith and Richie Rees had threatened an upset at the RDS.
Leinster began on the front foot and enjoyed plenty of the early territory and possession but as a result of the conditions, and some resolute defence from the Dragons, they were kept at bay.
On 12 minutes however, the deadlock was broken when the hosts were awarded a penalty and Ian Madigan, getting the nod at flyhalf in favour of Jimmy Gopperth, slotted through the posts for 3-0.
Leinster continued to press for the opening try of the match but on 27 minutes the Dragons levelled things up thanks to a drop goal from Tovey.
The defending Pro12 champions finally had their first try of the match on 38 minutes when McGrath forced his way over, Leinster capitalising on the extra man after prop Nathan Buck had been sent to the sin bin. Madigan added the extras for 10-3 at the break.
The Dragons came roaring out of the blocks and two tries in three minutes stunned Leinster and handed the visitors a 13-10 lead.
First it was Smith who dotted down after some impressive work at the breakdown from the Dragons and then it was Rees' turn after Leinster were turned over again.
The Dragons led by six on 53 minutes when Tovey slotted a penalty but that stirred Leinster into action and on the hour mark they had the lead again when they were awarded a penalty try with Madigan converting.
Dragons replacement Jevon Groves was sent to the sin bin to compound their woes.
Leinster smelled blood and they had the cushion that they wanted when referee Kevin Beggs awarded a second penalty try on 67 minutes, Madigan's conversion giving the hosts an eight-point lead.
A Tovey penalty on 70 minutes ensured that Leinster could not coast to the final whistle however but try as they might they could not find their way back into the game.
Their night ended on a bad note when Nahel Tetaz Chaparro was shown a red card in the final minute for a tip tackle on Isaac Boss and Leinster rubbed salt into the wounds as a late try from Darren Hudson sealed the bonus point and denied the Dragons one of their own.
Tries: McGrath, Penalty try 2, Hudson
Cons: Madigan 4
For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Tries: Smith, Rees
Pens: Tovey 2
Yellow cards: Nathan Buck (Newport Gwent Dragons, 31), Jevon Groves (Newport Gwent Dragons, 58)
Red card: Francisco Chaparro (Newport Gwent Dragons, 80)
Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Leo Cullen (captain), 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Issac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Darren Hudson.
Newport Gwent Dragons:15 Hallam Amos, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Will Harries, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 9 Netani Talei, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rob Sidoli (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 T.Rhys Thomas, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Ross Wardle.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Marc Patton (Ireland), Barrie O'Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)