Pro14: Zebre 24-40 Leinster
|Pro14: Zebre v Leinster|
|Zebre (19) 24|
|Tries: Brummer 2, Elliott, di Giulio Cons: Canna 2|
|Leinster (21) 40|
|Tries: Deegan 2, D Kearney, R Byrne, Fardy, C O'Brien Cons: R Byrne 5|
Leinster left it late before making sure of a Pro14 victory over Zebre which stretched their lead at the top of Conference B to 22 points.
The Irish side raced into a 21-0 lead inside 22 minutes with tries by Max Deegan, Dave Kearney and Ross Byrne.
But Zebre, bottom of Conference A, hit back to trail by just two at half-time.
Francois Brummer's second try of the game earned the Italian club a losing bonus point, but Conor O'Brien and Deegan nailed down the away victory.
Earlier in the second period, Scott Fardy had dotted down in the left corner as Leinster extended their two-point interval advantage to 28-19.
It was the defending champions' 10th bonus-point win of the season.
They got off to a fine start, with open-side flanker Deegan touching down after a rolling maul and eased over from a line-out.
Dave Kearney raced through to touch down, with the third try going to Ross Byrne who made it three out of three conversions for the 21-0 lead.
But Leo Cullen's side were given a shock when the hosts struck back, full-back Brummer touching down after a spell of home pressure.
Former Northampton centre Jamie Elliott intercepted a ball in the middle of the park to make it a quick-fire double and Gabriele Di Giulio made it three tries in less than 10 minutes to get Zebre right back into the contest.
The break came at a good time for the Irish province and after Barry Daly had one disallowed for an earlier knock-on, skipper Fardy restored the lead only for Brummer to pull one back with a quarter of the game still remaining.
Another swift attack by the visitors was finished off by O'Brien before Deegan rounded off the scoring with a sixth try.
Zebre: Brummer; Di Giulio, Bisegni, Boni, Elliott; Canna, Renton; Rimpelli, Fabiani, Zilocchi; Ortis, Biagi (cap); Mbanda, Tuivaiti, Licata.
Replacements: Luus, Fischetti, Chistolini, Tauyavuca, Brown, Raffaele, Balekana, De Battista.
Leinster: D Kearney; Byrne, O'Loughlin, O'Brien, Daly; Byrne, Gibson-Park; McGrath, Tracy, Porter; Molony, Fardy (capt); Murphy, Deegan, Doris.
Replacements: B Byrne, Dooley, Bent, M Kearney, Dunne, O'Sullivan, Reid, J O'Brien.