herald

Friday 2 December 2016

Carbery leads from the front

Blues fall just short of a bonus-point

Joey Carbery breaks through the Treviso defence on his way to scoring his and Leinster's second try. Photo: Sportsfile
Joey Carbery breaks through the Treviso defence on his way to scoring his and Leinster's second try. Photo: Sportsfile

Joey Carbery showed a stamp of genuine class to take Leinster to an opening-night win in the PRO12 League at The RDS.

The 20 year-old, originally signed to The Academy as a scrum-half, announced his candidacy to challenge Jonathan Sexton with a sizzling, one-handed conclusion to a movement brought about by Noel Reid's two breaks in the third minute.

As first-night adrenalin subsided, the Italians played their way into it.

Centre Reid muddied an electric opening with the concession of a penalty, which Tomasso Allan missed from straight in front of his target.

A barbaric, but legal, hit and steal from Marco Barbini infused Treviso with greater urgency and a power surge at scrum time. It was a signal for Josh van der Flier to separate man from ball, and the super-smooth Carbery shot away from a standing start from inside his own half for a stunning second try.

Leinster turned in an angry scrum to earn a penalty which Fergus McFadden used to make it 15-0 in the 32nd minute.

They weren't on easy street just yet - Treviso lock Marco Fuser making hay out of a feeble fringe defence for a fine finish near the break.

There was still the matter of a match to be won and points to be picked up. The arrival of a new front row, including Andrew Porter making his debut, coincided with the cave-in of a penalty to Treviso.

It took a one-on-one take-down from Luke McGrath to prevent another Treviso try, Allan consoled by three for a 15-8 scoreline in the 50th minute.

The third quarter passed without Leinster threatening to move more than one score away.

Passive

The introduction of Leinster old boy Ian McKinley drew the warmest moment of the evening out of an otherwise passive home crowd.

Jamison Gibson-Park also made his way into the argument just before Carbery kicked ahead when he should have held on to the ball.

It took one almighty 'ball-up-the-jumper' maul for James Tracy to give Leinster breathing space.

There was almost a dream moment for Leinster's third new boy when Rory O'Loughlin was twice involved before losing the ball with the line in sight.

Pro12: Leinster 20 - Treviso 8

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