RaboDirect Pro 12: Leinster 52-9 Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues' Paul Tito tackles Leinster's Sean O'Brien
Cardiff Blues' Paul Tito tackles Leinster's Sean O'Brien in Dublin

Leinster romped to a bonus-point win over under-strength Cardiff Blues to go to the top of the Pro12 League.

The visitors had no answer to the hosts' power, pace and strength at the Royal Dublin Showground.

Isaac Boss Nathan White, Ian Madigan, Dave Kearney, twice, and Leo Auva'a went over for the hosts.

The Blues' points came from Ceri Sweeney's boot. Leinster's Fergus McFadden and Jonathan Sexton kicked 22 points between them.

The Blues arrived shorn of eight players on Wales duty against Australia at the Millennium Stadium the following day.

And in the hours before kick-off they lost full-back Chris Czekaj to a hamstring injury and replacement scrum-half Lewis Jones to illness.

Dan Fish came in for Czekaj and Cory Allen, a full-back, went on to the visitors' bench.

That left the Blues without a replacement nine to Richie Rees.

And the misery continued on the field with Leinster dominating in the loose.

The hosts had Isa Nacewa, Richardt Strauss, Leo Cullen and Sean O'Brien back in their ranks - and their presence was an indication of the relative strengths of the two teams.

And as the contest wore on, that difference in depth told heavily in Leinster's favour.

Sweeney kicked the game's first points after two minutes, but after McFadden levelled, his scrum-half Boss went over for the first try the centre converted.

That put the hosts into a lead they were not to relinquish and McFadden added a second penalty to pile more pressure on the Blues.

Sweeney replied with two more first-half penalties to give his side some hope.

But after McFadden kicked another penalty, wing Fionn Carr produced the game-breaking attack to send prop White charging over from 25 metres.

McFadden converted and added a drop-goal before a rare Leinster blip - skipper Leo Cullen was sin-binned for entering a ruck illegally as the Blues threatened.

But even that could not undermine Leinster's momentum as the Blues lamentably failed to take advantage of the lock's absence.

Blues scrum-half Richie Rees was also sent to the bin for offside as Leinster again pressed.

Then fly-half Madigan picked a superb line to dart through the Blues defence before a rapid double from replacement Dave Kearney was followed by back-row replacement Auva's touchdown.


Leinster: I Nacewa, D Kearney, E O'Malley, F McFadden, F Carr, I Madigan, I Boss, C Healy, R Strauss, N White, L Cullen (capt), S Sykes, R Ruddock, S Jennings, S O'Brien

Replacements: S Cronin, H van der Merwe, M Ross, D Browne, L Auva'a, E Reddan, J Sexton, R Kearney

Cardiff Blues: D Fish; R Mustoe, C Laulala, G Evans, T James; C Sweeney, R Rees; J Yapp, R Tyrrell, T Filise; C Hill, P Tito; M Molitika, J Navidi, X Rush.

Replacements: M Breeze, N Trevett, S Hobbs, M Cook, M Paterson, C Allen, G Davies, D Hewitt.

Referee: Andrew Macpherson (SRU).