A late Jordi Murphy try saw Leinster claim a crucial bonus point 27-0 victory over lowly PRO12 rivals Zebre on Friday.
Leinster headed into the match in fantastic form, while Zebre themselves were looking to make it two wins in a row following last week's victory over Cardiff Blues. And an even first half suggested that there'd be little between the two sides, as the stubborn visitors succeeded in holding Leinster at bay for large periods of the match.
The hosts took a lead they would never relinquish in the eighth minute, when Ian Madigan booted over a penalty goal, and the points were followed in the 33rd minute, when Noel Reid crossed for Leinster's first try. Reid was in the right place at the right time to convert the attack into points following excellent work from the home forwards. The kick was missed, but Leinster held an eight-point lead as half-time approached.
Stubborn Zebre defence in the opening part of the second half ensured there'd be no blowout result, but just ahead of the hour the Irish side added a second try to dispel any hope of a fightback.
Luke Fitzgerald crashed over after his team-mates in the backs division had crafted an opportunity, and this time Madigan was on target with the conversion. A third try quickly followed as Fitzgerald completed a brace following more intense pressure on the Zebre line, and a crucial third try, to secure the bonus point, was added in the last minute when Murphy dived over for Madigan to convert.
Tries: Reid, Fitzgerald 2, Murphy
Cons: Madigan 2
Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Darragh Fanning, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Issac Boss, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Michael Bent
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Brendan Macken
Zebre: 15 David Odiete, 14 Giulio Toniolatti, 13 Giovanbattista Vendetti, 12 Kameli Ratavou, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Tommaso Iannone, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Andries van Schalkwyk, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 Marco Bortolami (c), 4 George Biagi, 3 David Ryan, 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Salvatore Perugini
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Michael van Vuuren, 20 Gugliemo Palazzani, 21 Alberto Chillon, 22 Emiliano Caffani, 23 Fillipo Cristiano
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Ita)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry, Andy Brace (both Ire)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ire)