Leinster held off a spirited late charge from Connacht, edging the Sportsground outfit 15-13 in the RaboDirect PRO12 on Sunday.
Leinster held off a brave late charge from Connacht as they defeated the Sportsground outfit 15-13 on Sunday.
Isa Nacewa was successful with three attempts in the first period before adding another two in the second to keep the visitors comfortably at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 league table.
Connacht responded with tries from Tiernan O'Halloran and Ethienne Reynecke, but it wasn't enough as they fell to their ninth defeat of the domestic season.
Despite several important games coming up, Leinster chose to field a strong side against the Irish minnows, but they struggled to replicate recent performances in the first half.
And it was the hosts who dominated early on. Although summer signing Matthew Jarvis missed two penalty opportunities within the first 11 minutes, he was on target with his third attempt soon after.
However, Nacewa, taking on kicking duties because of the absent Jonny Sexton, levelled the scores with a penalty. The Fijian full-back added another soon after as the visitors took the lead, 6-3. A third successful three-point attempt meant Leinster opened had opened up a decent advantage at the break.
Nacewa continued his fine individual performance in the second period with a further penalty, but scrum-half Isaac Boss was sin-binned for the visitors. It proved costly as O'Halloran went over for the hosts, but Jarvis was once again off target with the conversion.
However, another Nacewa three-pointer relieved the pressure as the visitors opened up a 15-8 lead.
But Connacht refused to lie down and Reynecke powered over after Leo Cullen was yellow carded for Leinster, although Miah Nikora missed the conversion which proved crucial.
Tries: O'Halloran, Reynecke
Pen: Nacewa 5
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (C), 14 Brian Tuohy, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Kyle Tonetti, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Paul O'Donohoe, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Mick Kearney, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 George Naoupu, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Dylan Rogers, 19 Eoin McKeon, 20 TJ Anderson, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Henry Fa'afili.
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 David Kearney, 13 Eoin O'Malley, 12 Brendan Macken, 11 Andrew Conway, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Leo Auva'a, 7 Kevin McLaughlin/Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Nathan White, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Shane Jennings/Jordi Murphy, 21 John Cooney, 22 Noel Reid/Fionn Carr, 23 Luke Fitzgerald.
Referee: John Lacey