Leinster came from 13 points down to claim a 42-19 bonus-point victory over the Scarlets in their RaboDirect PRO12 opener on Friday.
Leinster came from 13-0 down to claim a 42-19 bonus-point victory over the Scarlets in their RaboDirect PRO12 opener at Parc y Scarlets on Friday.
Tries from Martin Moore, Jordi Murphy, Darren Hudson, Jimmy Gopperth and Dave Kearney cancelled out Rob McCusker's early touchdown as the Irish side secured an impressive opening day win in South Wales.
Gopperth showed he is the man to replace the departed Jonny Sexton as he kicked 17 points and scored a try for the reigning champions in a fiery encounter at Parc y Scarlets.
The hosts started well, finding holes in Leinster's defence early on and they took the lead through the boot of 22-year-old Steve Shingler after Kearney was penalised at the breakdown.
The full-back was in hot water once again as he hauled down Scott Williams by the neck giving referee John Lacey no option but to send him to the bin. Simon Easterby's men took full advantage with a second penalty from Shingler before his older sibling Aaron Shingler burst through Leinster's defensive line with the ball eventually finding its way to McCusker who touched down for the game's opening try.
Shingler converted the effort but the reigning PRO12 champions hit back instantly as Moore crossed over the whitewash after 17 minutes as the Scarlets defence disintegrated from the lineout in their own 22.
With the game heating up, fly-half Gopperth added the extras before adding a further three points with a penalty but the home side ended the half with a successful penalty of their own from Shingler to go in at the break with a six point lead.
The visitors flew out of the traps in the second-half and they took the lead for the first time as Murphy powered his way over the try-line on the right wing with Gopperth adding the conversion.
Tempers continued to flare at Parc y Scarlets but Leinster extended their lead with another penalty from Gopperth as they turned up the heat in the Welsh side.
The visitors were dealt a blow minutes later as Hudson was yellow carded for a clumsy challenge on Liam Williams in mid-air.
The Scarlets continued to dominate at the scrum and their power was rewarded as Shingler notched his third penalty of the match to reduce the deficit to just one point with a quarter of the game remaining.
But in typical style of champions, Hudson, man of the match Gopperth, and Kearney scored late tries for Leinster as they sealed the bonus-point win.
Pen: Shingler 4
Tries: Moore, Murphy, Hudson, Gopperth, Kearney
Con: Gopperth 4
Pen: Gopperth 3
Scarlets: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Steve Shingler, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (capt), 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Jo Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Craig Price, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Jordan Williams.
Leinster: 15 Dave Kearney, 14 Darragh Fanning, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings (capt), 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Tom Denton, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Brendan Macken.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)