Pro14: Leinster 41-6 Zebre
|Leinster (12) 41|
|Tries: Lowe 2, O'Loughlin, Deegan 2, Abdaladze, B Byrne Con: R Byrne 3|
|Zebre (3) 6|
|Pens: Canna 2|
Leinster recovered from a sluggish first half to clinch a bonus-point win over Zebre in the Pro14 game in Dublin.
James Lowe's try helped Leinster lead but Zebre had an effort ruled out by the TMO before Rory O'Loughlin's score put the home side 12-3 ahead.
Max Deegan stole the ball from the back of Zebre's scrum to increase Leinster's lead to 17-3 after half-time.
Deegan's second try secured the bonus point before late scores from Lowe, Vakh Abdaladze and Bryan Byrne.
Number eight Deegan's try straight after the resumption was a hammer blow for Michael Bradley's Zebre side as scrum-half Marcello Violi dwelt on the ball at the base of scrum which allowed the back row to produce a cheeky steal and run in from close range.
After more Zebre pressure had been repelled, impressive Deegan's tap and go set up the attack which resulted in his bonus-point clinching try as Leinster extended their advantage over Scarlets in Conference B to eight points although the champions can reduce that later on Saturday when they host Glasgow.
Leinster make 10 changes from Saracens game
Lowe, one of five players who retained their starting roles from last weekend's Champions Cup win over Saracens, burst past some weak tackling to score Leinster's first try after 12 minutes.
Ross Byrne added the extras but Leinster misfired for the next 20 minutes as Zebre dominated possession.
Scrum-half Violi claimed for a try on 32 minutes as he dived towards the base of a post but the replays were judged inconclusive as Zebre had to settle for three points from Carlo Canna's boot.
Within a minute, Leinster's lead was 12-3 as wing Barry Daly's initial burst put the Zebre defence in trouble, with O'Loughlin eventually making numbers count out wide.
Zebre still looked well in the game at half-time but Deegan's opportunist score immediately after the restart gave Leinster crucial breathing space.
Canna's second penalty cut Leinster's lead to 11 points but the addition of front-row reinforcements Byrne, Abdaladze and Peter Dooley boosted the home side in the final quarter.
Deegan's quick thinking helped set up Leinster's fourth try on 60 minutes and as Zebre morale flagged, Lowe and replacement Byrne added further touchdowns.
Leinster: B Daly; A Byrne, R O'Loughlin, C O'Brien, J Lowe; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; C Healy, J Tracy, T Furlong; D Toner (capt), M Kearney; J Murphy, D Leavy, M Deegan.
Replacements: B Byrne, P Dooley, V Abdaladze, R Molony, P Timmins, N McCarthy, C Frawley, G Mullin.
Zebre: M Minozzi; G Di Giulio, G Bisegni, F Afamasaga, M Bellini; C Canna, M Violi; A Lovotti, O Fabiani, D Chistolini; L Krumov, G Biagi (capt); V Bernabo, J Sarto, D Sisi.
Replacements: R Tenga, A De Marchi, C Ah-Nau, E Bello, L Luus, G Palazzani, S Bordoli, G Venditti.