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Thursday 26 April 2018

Depleted Blues up into third as tries from Dundon and Reid slay Dragons

FULL DEBUT: Leinster’s Zane Kirchner, with Martin Moore in support, takes on Matthew Screech of the Newport-Gwent Dragons during their PRO12 match at Rodney Parade last night.
FULL DEBUT: Leinster’s Zane Kirchner, with Martin Moore in support, takes on Matthew Screech of the Newport-Gwent Dragons during their PRO12 match at Rodney Parade last night.

Leinster moved temporarily into third as hooker Aaron Dundon and centre Noel Reid supplied the second-half tries that put the Dragons away 23-19 in the PRO12 League at Rodney Parade last night.

These are the dark nights on which clubs can slide or surge. The problem for Leinster was that they lost 17 players to Ireland – the Dragons two to Wales.

Fly-half Jimmy Gopperth was first to register, the Dragons captain Lewis Evans dropped to his knees before clamping down on Gopperth at a ruck.

The lead didn't last when Lewis got his technique right as Zane Kirchner wrestled for the ball on the floor.

Fly-half Jason Tovey launched a monster penalty from the right for the equaliser in the 15th minute.

The Dragons started to exert pressure only for Dundon and Moore to steal ball on the floor and Quinn Roux to force a penalty for his commitment at a ruck.

Gopperth was inches left with a drop goal and Kirchner almost created something out of nothing but for Reid's foot-in-touch to disallow Gopperth's try.

Then the Leinster's scrum went into overdrive for a strike against the head.

The ball squirted out and the home side were awarded a penalty as scrum-half John Cooney was short of support.

The quick tap penalty by Richie Rees exposed Leinster with Lote Tuqiri caught in no man's land and centre Ross Wardle had the wheels to hold off Gopperth. Tovey converted for 10-3 in the 32nd minute.

Wing Tom Prydie made a big hit on Kirchner off a Garryowen, Prydie and Lewis then combining to force Kirchner into a penalty for holding on from another high ball.

Leinster needed respite from the siege and they got it through Dragons' indiscipline for Gopperth to clip the deficit to 10-6 as the clock turned red at the end of the half.

The last thing the Irish province needed to do was invite the home side onto them. Gopperth was caught in possession and Tovey kicked three for offside across the middle. Then, the pick-and-go produced a third penalty for Gopperth in the 50th minute

ONSLAUGHT

Lock Adam Jones was binned for foul play, taking out a lifter at a lineout, to trigger a Leinster onslaught, finished off by Dundon's superb low-body drive to the line. Gopperth kicked the extras in the 58th minute.

Kirchner was next to contribute, timing his run onto Shane Jennings short ball to send Reid in unopposed. Gopperth's two put Leinster 23-13 ahead in the 62nd minute.

Tovey made it a one-score game for side entry at a maul by the otherwise outstanding Rhys Ruddock and replacement Jack O'Connell was carded at a ruck for Tovey to make it a four-point game in the 73nd minute.

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