Leinster edge out Cardiff Blues

07th Jan 2012, 20:45

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Rob Kearney: Scored Leinster's second try

Rob Kearney: Scored Leinster's second try

Leinster maintained their position at the top of the PRO12 table after their crucial 23-19 win at Cardiff Blues on Saturday.

Leinster maintained their position at the top of the PRO12 table after their crucial 23-19 win at Cardiff Blues on Saturday.

Two early tries helped Leinster to victory against their hosts, whose inaccuracy in front of goal in the closing stages cost them dearly.

Leinster got off to the perfect start and were 14 points up within the first ten minutes.

Tries from Sean O'Brien and Rob Kearney gave the visitors an excellent platform and established a lead they would defend for the remainder of the match.

But any hopes Leinster had of killing off the game in the first half were dispelled, as Cardiff wrestled their way back into the contest courtesy of two Leigh Halfpenny penalties and a Dan Parks drop goal.

But Leinster re-affirmed their dominance in the final moments of the first half and stretched their lead to eight points with a Jonathan Sexton penalty.

The opening stages of the second half were punctuated by two penalties, with Sexton and Halfpenny on target for their respective sides, before Cardiff cut Leinster's lead down to a single point with a try just before the hour.

Gethin Jenkins was the man to put the hosts back in it, but his effort needed to be rubber stamped by the video referee first.

The Blues then missed two golden opportunities to take the lead, with two Halfpenny penalty attempts missing the target.

The first, from 40 metres out, fell short, and he screwed the second wide, much to the despair of the home crowd.

Fergus McFadden made no mistake for Leinster when the visitors were awarded a penalty for a late tackle. His goal put the visitors four points up and cemented the victory.

The scorers:

For Cardiff Blues:
Try: Jenkins
Con: Halfpenny
Pens: Halfpenny 3
Drop-goal: Parks

For Leinster:
Tries: R Kearney, O'Brien
Cons: Sexton 2
Pens: Sexton 2, McFadden

Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Macauley Cook, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 John Yapp, 18 Sam Hobbs, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Harry Robinson.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dave Kearney 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Conway, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Leo Auva'a, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Isa Nacewa, 23 Fionn Carr.

Venue: Cardiff City Stadium
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)