Big Ben strikes as Blues pick up bonus point
Leinster moved into the Top-4 with an impressive 27-3 bonus-point victory at Benetton Treviso yesterday.
They blasted straight into fifth gear by changing the point of attack through multiple carriers, most notably Luke Fitzgerald, Sean Cronin feeding Jack McGrath for the opening try in the fourth minute.
Jonathan Sexton’s first points in his second coming came from the conversion.
This was a prelude to Treviso’s domination of possession and territory as Jayden Hayward kicked a penalty.
New lock Hayden Triggs saved further blushes when covering as the last man before Sexton saw yellow just ten minutes into his return when holding back Hayward.
Leinster were driven onto the back-foot for a prolonged period until Dave Kearney’s decisive decision forced a spill from Braam Steyn.
Then, it took the combined force of Isa Nacewa and Fitzgerald to shake a knock-on out of Andrea Pratichetti.
Treviso were even inches away from a mauled-up try in the 24th minute that could have changed the game.
Jordi Murphy’s snaffling instincts and Jack Conan second surge through contact created the momentum for Fergus McFadden to make it 10-3 against a tidal wave of possession.
Leinster’s ruthless edge was shown when Sexton launched a high ball, supremely fielded by Dave Kearney, spinning away from Ludovcio Nitoglia, to find the alert Nacewa galloping over for 15-3 at the half.
The home side came out with renewed energy, McFadden wiping out a two-man overlap by putting the heat on Steyn.
The sight of Be Te’o and McFadden crunching into consecutive tackles, a great follow-up read by Te’o and hard off-the-line pressure from Mike McCarthy would have pleased defence coach Kurt McQuilkin.
The power of Te’o on the move was too much for Treviso to put Leinster in the right area.
From there, Jack Conan was given a clear run in from the sublime work of Noel Reid, Murphy and Nacewa for 20-3 in the 57th minute.
A sharp raid down the short side, initiated by Eoin Reddan, drew a yellow card out of Nitoglia for a deliberate knock-on.
Shoddy defending was exposed by Te’o, the excellent New Zealander handing off Sam Christie and Luke McLean for the coveted bonus-point.