Pro12: Leinster 70-6 Zebre

Sean O'Brien scores Leinster's first try in the win over Zebre
Sean O'Brien's early try helped Leinster bank the bonus point by the 30th minute
Leinster (35) 70
Tries: O'Brien, Triggs, L McGrath, Healy, O'Loughlin 3, Ringrose 2, Heaslip Cons: Sexton 7, R Byrne 3
Zebre (6) 6
Pens: Padovani 2

Johnny Sexton impressed on his return to action as Leinster scored 10 tries against Zebre in the Pro12 to move level on points with leaders Munster.

In his first game in seven weeks, Sexton looked sharp in open play at the RDS and kicked seven conversions.

Tries from Sean O'Brien, Hayden Triggs, Luke McGrath and Cian Healy secured the bonus point by the 30th minute.

A Rory O'Loughlin hat-trick and two Garry Ringrose tries followed before replacement Jamie Heaslip's late score.

Thirty-one-year-old Sexton, captaining Leinster in Isa Nacewa's absence, was replaced in the 55th minute along with impressive half-back partner McGrath with the contest against the outclassed Italians long over.

With McGrath getting quick ball to Sexton, the fly-half directed his backline impressively in his first game since being injured against New Zealand in November and seemed none the worse despite taking a heavy hit in the midriff from Tommaso Castello midway through the first half.

Johnny Sexton gives instructions during Friday's Pro12 thumping of Zebre
Johnny Sexton impressively directed Leinster's backline in his first game in seven weeks

Weak Zebre no match for rampant home side

Leinster made seven changes from their New Year's Eve win over Ulster but the bottom-placed Italians still looked to be up against it as the home side included Ireland stars Sexton, O'Brien, Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw and Devin Toner as well an in-form emerging talents O'Loughlin, McGrath and Adam Byrne.

Ringrose's initial burst and McGrath's long pass set up O'Brien's fifth-minute try and while Edoardo Padovani replied with a Zebre penalty as Leinster's handling let them down for short period, Triggs' score soon increased the advantage to 14-3.

Just before kicking his first penalty, Padovani wasted Zebre's best try-scoring opportunity as he kicked the ball over the end line after Lloyd Greeff's chip seemed to have put the fly-half clear of the Leinster defence.

Padovani's second penalty on 25 minutes proved Zebre's last score as Toner's soaring take from the restart and Zane Kirchner's burst set up scrum-half McGrath to score.

Healy barged over to secure the bonus-point just before the half-hour and O'Loughlin's first try came in injury-time prior to the break after the scrum-half's dart as Leinster extended their lead to 35-6.

O'Loughlin and man of the match Ringrose helped themselves to two second-half tries before Heaslip's late score as replacement fly-half Ross Byrne kept the Leinster backline moving well.

Leinster: Z Kirchner; A Byrne, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, R O'Loughlin; J Sexton (capt), L McGrath; C Healy, J Tracy, M Bent; D Toner, H Triggs; D Leavy, S O'Brien, J Conan.

Replacements: S Cronin for Tracy 49, J McGrath for Healy 49, T Furlong for Bent 49, R Ruddock for Triggs 49, J Heaslip for Leavy 61, J Gibson-Park for L McGrath 56, R Byrne for Sexton 56, N Reid for Henshaw 67.

Zebre: K Baker; M Bellini, M Pratichetti, T Castello, L Greeff; E Padovani, M Violi; A Lovotti, T D'Apice, P Ceccarelli; G Koegelenberg, G Biagi (capt); D Minnie, F Ruzza, A Van Schalkwyk.

Replacements: C Festuccia for D'Apice 41, A De Marchi for Lovotti 66, G Roan for Ceccarelli 60, J Furno for Koegelenberg 50, G Palazzani for Greef 55 G Venditti for Pratichetti 50, S Bordoli for Padovani 63.

Not used: M Mbanda.

Referee: D Jones (Wales)

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