Pro14: Leinster notch eight tries in 50-15 hammering of Dragons at the RDS

Harry Byrne scores Leinster's third try at the RDS
Harry Byrne ran in Leinster's third first-half try at the RDS
Pro 14: Leinster v Dragons
Leinster (19) 50
Tries: Bent, D Kearney 2, H Byrne, Kelleher, Lowe 2, O'Sullivan Cons: H Byrne 5
Dragons (8) 15
Tries: J Williams, Jenkins Con: Davies Pen: Davies

Leinster extended their lead at the top of Conference A in the Pro14 with a 50-15 hammering of Dragons at the RDS.

Tries from Michael Bent, Dave Kearney and Harry Byrne helped the holders lead 19-8 at half-time, with Jordan Williams notching the Dragons touchdown.

Dragons totally imploded in the second half as Ronan Kelleher's try secured a bonus point before scores from Kearney, James Lowe (two) and Hugh O'Sullivan.

Owen Jenkins scored a late Dragons try but the score was scant consolation.

Leinster's win put them five points ahead of second-placed Ulster in Conference A.

The Welsh club went into the game hoping to produce another encouraging display after their 18-5 victory over Glasgow but proved no match for Leinster, despite the holders still without more than 15 frontline players.

Dragons had 13 of last weekend's starters but after putting it up to the holders in the first half, they were blown away in the second half.

Byrne impresses on first Leinster start

Leinster made nine changes from the bizarrely low-scoring 3-0 away win over Zebre and the rejigged line-up delivered for Leo Cullen with fly-half and man of the match Byrne among the try-scorers on his first start.

In addition to scoring his 32nd-minute try, Byrne, whose Ireland international brother Ross is also a Leinster fly-half, set up Kearney's second-half try with a superb crosskick.

A series of forward drives yielded prop Bent's fifth-minute try and after Sam Davies replied with a penalty, Kearney extended Leinster's lead with a 22nd-minute score.

As the rain started to fall heavily, Dragons full-back Williams profited from a Leinster mistake on the own line to notch the visitors' first try on 28 minute but Byrne quickly responded with a close-range finish to put the home side 19-8 up at the break.

Byrne's try had an element of good fortune as Italian referee Andrea Piardi appeared to get in the way of Richard Hibbard as he was about to attempt to tackle in the fly-half.

Prop Kelleher finished off a well-constructed maul to secure Leinster's bonus point four minutes after the resumption before Byrne's accurate kick set up Kearney's second score.

Wing James Lowe's two tries, the second of which came following an interception, came either side of replacement scrum-half Hugh O'Sullivan's scrambled score after Sam Davies had spilled possession on his own line.

Jenkins' Dragons score came in the final play of the game but it was a chastening evening for the visitors in the Dublin rain.

Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan told BBC Sport Wales: "They showed the pedigree of their side, it doesn't matter whether their front-line guys are away, their second line all understand the script and that spell after half-time was too much for us.

"Discipline let us down a bit and suddenly the game's gone away from us after being competitive for 40 minutes.

"We've got to get better in (wet) conditions like today, under pressure like today.

"But there were some great bits out there, I thought (flanker) Taine Basham was outstanding for a young man in those circumstances."

Leinster: J O'Brien; Kearney, O'Loughlin, C O'Brien, Lowe; H Byrne, Gibson-Park; Dooley, R Kelleher, Bent, Toner (capt), Baird; Deegan, Penny, Doris.

Replacements: Tracy for Kelleher 52 mins, Milne for Dooley 52, Aungier for Bent 52, Molony for Toner 57, Connors for Doris 70, O'Sullivan for Gibson-Park 60, Frawley for O'Brien 60, C Kelleher for O'Loughlin 63.

Dragons: J Williams; O Jenkins, Warren, Edwards, Hewitt; S Davies, R Williams (capt); Harris, Hibbard, Brown, J Davies, Screech, Keddie, Basham, Taylor.

Replacements: Shipp for Hibbard 70, Reynolds for Harris 73, Fairbrother for Brown 70, M Williams for Screech 65, Benjamin for Keddie 60, Baldwin for R Williams 60, T Morgan for Edwards 47. Not used: Robson

Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)

Assistants: Andrew Brace (IRFU); Matteo Liperini (FIR)

TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)

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