Pro12: Zebre 22-41 Leinster

Leinster full-back Isa Nacewa is tackled by Mauro Bergamasco

ZEBRE (17) 22

Sinoti, Halangahu, Festuccia
Halangahu 2

LEINSTER (17) 41

Denton, McFadden, Carr, Ryan, Nacewa
Sexton 5
Sexton 2

Leinster closed to within three points of Pro12 leaders Ulster with a five-try victory over Zebre in Italy.

Thomas Denton and Fergus McFadden went over for Leinster before Zebre hit back with tries from Sinoti Sinoti and Daniel Halangalu.

The sides were tied 17-17 at the break before Leinster surged clear in the second half with Fionn Carr, Dominic Ryan and Isa Nacewa touching down.

Carlo Festuccia scored Zebre's third try six minutes from time.

Ireland and Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton returned from a two-month injury lay-off to add 16 points with the boot while Halangalu kicked seven points.

Sexton and Halangalu exchanged penalties before Denton ran in the first try after 10 minutes.

McFadden then seized on a Sexton pass to score Leinster's second.

Zebre wing Sinoti touched down in the 26th minute and Halangulu dotted down under the posts on the stroke of half-time to bring Zebre level.

But a Sexton penalty (44) and tries from Carr (46), Ryan (59) and Nacewa (62) arrived without an Italian response after the break.

Replacement hooker Festuccia, who was later yellow carded for striking Isaac Boss, eventually found a way through, only for Halangalu to miss the third conversion.

Zebre's 21st defeat of the season leaves them 18 points adrift of Newport-Gwent Dragons at the bottom while Leinster climbed above Glasgow, ahead of fifth-placed Ospreys' visit to Dublin on the last day of the regular season.

Leaders Ulster host Cardiff Blues with Leinster hoping to capitalise on any slip-up at Ravenhill to finish top of the pile before the semi-finals begin.

Zebre: Benettin, Trevisan, Venditti, Pratichetti, Sinoti, Halangahu, Chillon, Aguero, Manici, Leibson, Van Vuren, Bortolami, Ferrarini, Bergamasco, Sole.

Replacements: Odiete for Benettin (50), Orquera for Pratichetti (67), Tebaldi for Chillon (48), Perugini for Aguero (57), Festuccia for Manici (43), De Marchi for Leibson (57), Cristiano for Ferrarini (64).

Not Used: Caffini.

Leinster: Nacewa, McFadden, O'Driscoll, Goodman, Carr, J. Sexton, Cooney, J. McGrath, Strauss, Bent, Denton, Toner, K. McLaughlin, Ryan, Ruddock.

Replacements: Marsh for J. Sexton (67), Boss for Cooney (56), Dundon for Strauss (62), Hagan for Bent (45), Roux for Denton (66), Jennings for Ruddock (66).

Not Used: O'Connell, Conway.

Att: 4,100

Top Stories