Leinster stayed amongst the frontrunners on the PRO12 table after claiming a convincing 37-7 win over Zebre in Dublin on Saturday.
Leinster stayed amongst the frontrunners on the PRO 12 table after claiming a convincing 37-7 win over Zebre in Dublin on Saturday.
The home side welcomed back several internationals to the side, while tight-head prop Michael Bent and centre Andrew Goodman made their home debuts in front of a large crowd at the Royal Dublin Showground.
Daniel Halangahu had the chance to give Zebre an early lead, but missed his penalty goal attempt after only seven minutes. That came after good opening pressure from the visitors.
But Leinster came in to the game themselves, and had a period of sustained pressure on the Zebre line, leading to a penalty goal from Jonny Sexton on 25 minutes.
Only a minute later, the first try of the game came from Andrew Conway, as he took advantage of a recycled ball from Fergus McFadden's kick and chase.
Quintin Geldenhuys, returning from Italian international duty, saw yellow on the half hour mark, and with a man down, Zebre were unable to stop Sexton touching down on 34 minutes; a score that referee Andrew McMenenmy sent up to his TMO for clarification.
The fly-half kicked his second conversion of the half to send the home side in 17-0 at the break. Zebre started the second half on the attack, and got their reward with a try from a ruck, with Tito Tebaldi dropping over the line.
Halengauhu slotted the conversion attempt, but only four minutes later, Fergus McFadden kicked a penalty after taking over kicking duties from Sexton, who was replaced at half time.
McFadden scored Leinster's third try of the night on the hour, as he accepted a great offload from Gordon D'Arcy, and also added the extras to give his side a 27-7 lead.
Cian Healy stretched the lead further with ten minutes to play, dropping over the line from the back of a ruck, and although McFadden missed the conversion, he made up for that with his side's fifth try of the night with only two minutes left.
Tries: McFadden 2, Conway, Sexton, McFadden, Healy
Con: Sexton 2, McFadden
Yellow card: Geldenhuys (32 mins)
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Gordon D'Arcy, 12 Andrew Goodman, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Sean O'Brien, 7 Rhys Ruddock, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Michael Bent, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Fionn Carr.
Zebre: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Gonzalo Garcia (capt), 12 Matteo Pratichetti, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Daniel Halangahu, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Filippo Cristiano, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Josh Sole, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 David Ryan, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Carlo Fazzari, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Nicola Belardo, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 David Odiete, 23 Paolo Buso.
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Richard Kerr (Ireland)
Television match official: Alan Rogan (Ireland)
Assessor: M Carroll (Ireland)