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European champions still alive

12th January 2013 19:54

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SKY_MOBILE Leo Cullen - Leinster Heineken Cup

Leinster: Not done yet

A 33-14 bonus-point victory over the Scarlets at the RDS on Saturday kept Leinster in the hunt for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

The reigning champions will now turn their attention to Sandy Park, where they must bag another full house against Exeter next week to be sure of keeping their title defence hopes alive.

Tries from Cian Healy, Shane Jennings and Luke Fitzgerald helped the hosts to a 19-11 lead at half time before Rob Kearney grabbed the all-important fourth try shortly after the restart.

Scarlets full-back Liam Williams scored a first-half try and a drop-goal to keep his team in touch at the interval, but the visitors never realistically threatened to stop a pumped-up Leinster side from getting the job done.

Ian Madigan scored a fifth try in the dying minutes as Leinster went in search of boosting their tournament try-count, which could be crucial in deciding who makes the final cut.

Aled Thomas's early penalty put Scarlets in front, but Leinster bounced back and took the lead on eight minutes when, following wave after wave of ferocious attack, Healy was able to burrow over from short range.

Jonathan Sexton added the conversion and, after Scarlets had narrowed the gap to a single point with a Williams drop-goal, the hosts struck twice more before half-time.

Jennings was over on 24 minutes following great work at the ruck and, though Sexton was wide with the extras, he was on target when Fitzgerald crashed over in the corner after the ball was worked left through the hands.

Scarlets had been left shell-shocked, though they were able to regroup and cross for the final points of the half when an unmarked Liam Williams snapped up a clever cross-field kick to dive over in the right corner.

Leinster were quick out of the blocks in the second half and they got their rewards when Kearney crossed following good work from Jamie Heaslip.

The hosts chased further points, but it was the visitors who closed the gap just before the hour courtesy of a Thomas penalty.

Leinster continued to rally, however, and they got their rewards in the closing minutes when Madigan darted over, before converting his own try with a drop-goal to bring the scoring to a close.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Healy, Jennings, Fitzgerald, Kearney, Madigan
Cons: Sexton 3, Madigan

For Scarlets:
Try: L. Williams
Pens: Thomas 2
Drop: L. Williams

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Isa Nacewa, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Heinke Van der Merwe, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Brian O'Driscoll.

Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Andy Fenby, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Aled Thomas, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Kieran Murphy, 7 Josh Turnbull, 6 Rob McCusker (capt) 5 Richard Kelly, 4 George Earle, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Johan Synman, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Adam Warren.

Venue: RDS
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)

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