Edinburgh well beaten in Dublin

Edinburgh were well beaten by reigning PRO14 Champions Leinster as the Dublin side maintained their 100 per cent start to their title defence with their sixth consecutive bonus-point win, running in eight tries at the RDS Arena.

The champions, unbeaten in the Guinness PRO14 since April 2019, wrapped up the bonus point before the break with a Luke McGrath brace and tries from Dave Kearney and Peter Dooley.

Dan Leavy also scored on his return to the starting line-up before Cian Kelleher scored a hat-trick to complete another dominant performance from Leinster in Dublin.

Edinburgh, last season's Conference B winners and Semi-Finalists, grabbed a consolation through Nic Groom while Nathan Chamberlain kicked five points but it was ultimately a night to forget for Richard Cockerill’s side.


Reaction

"Look, we’ve got a very young and inexperienced team. And it showed," said Head Coach Richard Cockerill. "To be fair they’ve got some young boys in their group as well, but their experienced players were very good and their young players were very good as well. And we just weren’t good enough to cope with it.

"We needed a good start and we sort of started well to a point. We wanted to kick to the corners, we knew it wasn’t going to be a kick threes to win the game or even stay in the game. We knew we had to be aggressive and when we made errors we got punished.

"They are a good team. We’ve got lots of guys missing, as they have, but their quality and depth and the way they go about their business here is at a different level than where we’re at this moment in time. It showed tonight."

Key Moments

There was little to choose between the two sides - who finished top of Conference A and B last season - in the opening stages during a physical opening to the contest in Dublin.

But it was the hosts who eventually landed the first blow, pouncing on a loose pass to break from one end to the other before Jimmy O’Brien’s grubber was touched down by Kearney.

Edinburgh looked for an immediate response and pushed forward into the Leinster 22 but they could find no way past the blue wall as the hosts cleared their lines from a scrum penalty.

The visitors were punished again on 21 minutes as Kearney turned provider, working a clever exchange down the blindside before finding McGrath on his inside for the No.9 to run in.

Ciaran Frawley made up for his earlier miss by adding the extras with his second attempt and it was not long before Leinster were surging forward again as the hosts kicked for territory.

Edinburgh’s defence withstood the pressure this time around, though, forcing a Leinster knock-on as Richard Cockerill’s side were able to clear their lines as the half hour approached.

Encouraged by their resilient defending, the capital side were able to exert some pressure of their own and a Leinster infringement allowed Chamberlain to cut the gap from the tee.

However, Leinster turned the screw as half-time approached and scored their third try as Dooley burrowed over from close range, with Frawley adding the extras once again.

And the bonus-point arrived on the cusp of the interval as a brilliant offload from Frawley found McGrath and the scrum-half darted through the white shirts for his second of the game.

The champions continued to put their foot down after the restart, with Leavy marking his first start since March 2019 with a try of his own on 42 minutes, converted by Frawley.

Edinburgh’s night then went from bad to worse six minutes later when they were reduced to 14 men as Eroni Say was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock on.

His absence soon resulted in Leinster’s sixth try, Kelleher putting the finishing touches to a clever chip into the corner from Harry Byrne to extend the hosts’ lead to 38-3.

And Kelleher’s second try arrived before the hour mark after a well-worked backline move from the Irish province, with Frawley adding to Edinburgh’s pain from the tee.

The visitors refused to back down, however, and were rewarded for their efforts on 68 minutes when replacement Groom sniped his way over the whitewash, converted by Chamberlain.

But it was Leinster who had the final say as the hosts brought up the half-century of points with Kelleher's hat-trick try on 75 minutes.

Player of the Match

There were a number of standout performances from Leo Cullen's men on a night in which they laid a marker down to their title rivals.

Cian Kelleher would probably feel short-changed to not take the prize after scoring a second-half hat-trick, while Luke McGrath orchestrated proceedings expertly while also crossing twice himself.

But it was Dan Leavy who earned the honour for his all-action display in his first start for the Irish province since March 2019.

live commentary 8:15 PM Monday 16 Nov 2020

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Kick-off 8:15 PM

Leinster

Edinburgh

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