Cardiff Blues were in Dublin and we hope they had their thermals on.
Leinster thumped the Blues twice last season and recorded another, closer win against them in Wales. Any repeat of the 52-9 or 34-3 victories would be a welcome sight.
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Leinster 59-22 Cardiff Blues
18.10 – Welcome along folks. Leinster are going through a rigorous work-out on the pitch and a house of horrors has been set up for the kiddlings (and brave adults). We’ll start you off with some team news.
18.14 – Dave Kearney is in for his first start of the season and Devin Toner partners captain Leo Cullen in the second row. Jordi Murphy gets another start and will waer the Number 7 jersey.
Leinster:Ian Madigan; David Kearney, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Fergus McFadden; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Leo Cullen (c), Devin Toner; Kevin McLaughlin, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Heinke van der Merwe, Jamie Hagan, Damian Browne, Rhys Ruddock, Isaac Boss, Brendan Macken, Fionn Carr.
18.21 – Warburton, Roberts and Halfpenny – to name but three of the Welsh internationals – all start. Jason Tovey will take the kicking duties.
Cardiff Blues: Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Dafydd Hewitt, Jamie Roberts, Tom James; Jason Tovey, Lloyd Williams; Tafa’ao Filise, Marc Breeze, Scott Andrews; Bradley Davies, James Down; Josh Navidi, Sam Warburton, Andries Pretorius (c).
Replacements: Rhys Willimas, Nathan Trevett, Campese ma’afu, Lou Reed, Robin Copeland, Lewis Jones, Ceri Sweeney, Tom Williams.
18.25 – Just discovered a Milky Way in my pocket (I bought it earlier). Van Morrison’s ‘Days Like This’ is playing out in my head. Five minutes to kick-off.
18.29 – I’ve just been told that a picture I’m trying to download will take 23 minutes. All the other journos must be logging on and sapping my broadband strength. Down to 10 minutes now – light at the end of the tunnel!
I was speaking to Donal Lenihan (name drop) before the match and he tells me that he has 22 predictions right, out of 24, so far in the Heineken Cup Predictor. He is cursing Munster’s loss in Paris a couple of weeks back or it would have been 23.
18.33 – Both teams are on the pitch and the fireworks are holding up proceedings. Budget blown for the year. Here’s that pic – only took three minutes in the end.
Leinster supporters Katie Gunne, age 3, and her brother John Gunne, age 2, from Dublin. (Credit: Brian Lawless – Sportsfile)
18.38 – Kick-off! Cardiff press early but make little headway. Cian Healy knocks on but Leinster soon regain possession.
TRY! Superb stuff from Dave Kearney as his 40-yard break takes Leinster to within inches of the tryline. The ball is fed out to the right. The nearly new Irishman Richardt Strauss powers over for a great score. Sexton adds the extras. Leinster 7-0 Cardiff
18.41 – TRY! Holy heck it’s try number two. A one-two between Ferg’burger’ McFadden and Ian Madigan opens up the Blues on the left. Great flick pass from McFadden after drawing in Halfpenny and it sends Madigan racing free. He is grappled to the ground but his momentum takes him over the line. Sexton adds two more. Leinster 14-0 Cardiff
18.47 – It is Leigh Halfpenny kicking for Cardiff – Tovey must have missed a few recently. He nails a penalty from near the right touchline to make it Leinster 14-3 Cardiff after 14 minutes. Cheers from the home fans after as they win a penalty after rattling Cardiff at the scrum. The backline is looking good too, so far. Can they play the Blues every week?
Great run by Healy on the left and it takes three men to get him to the ground.
18.51 – TRY! Unbelievable stuff from Brian O’Driscoll there as he is narrowly denied a try but keeps the play moving. D’Arcy has a dart next but play comes back to the left and O’Driscoll finds McLaughlin outside him. The flanker tosses it to Jamie Heaslip to dive over near the corner. Sexton coverts and it is Leinster 21-3 Cardiff after 19 minutes.
18.59 – TRY FOR LEINSTER!
19.02 – Dave Kearney comes to the party with a super try out wide on the right. Jordi Murphy was excellent in the build-up (25 mins).
And Leinster have just secured the quickest bonus point try of the season.
In addition, Sexton makes no mistake with the conversion.
19.04 – TRY FOR LEINSTER!
19.08 – Leinster’s scrum simply overpowers their opponents’, and Jamie Heaslip grabs the ball auspiciously from the side and dives over (30 mins).
Sexton gets the conversion, and the hosts are running away with this game, which can barely even be called a contest at the moment.
19.10 – Paul Fennessy here taking over, as Patrick McCarry battles the RDS’ dodgy broadband set-up.
19.11 – TRY FOR LEINSTER!
19.14 – TRY! This is getting ri-donk-ulous. Healy batters his way over to score try number six after 35 minutes. Forgot to mention an absolutely huge nugget of information – Brian O’Driscoll limped off bout 10 minutes ago, to be replaced by Brendan Macken. Ireland coach Declan Kidney will be a worried man. Thanks to Paul for covering for me during that broadband fiasco and cheers to Stephen from 98fm for coming to the rescue here beside me at the RDS.
Seton misses the conversion so it is Leinster 40-3 Cardiff
19.17 – Cardiff attacking as half-time nears. The ref is chatting to his touch judge and Pretorius gets a chatting to but no card. HALF-TIME
Are you worried? I bloody well am. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)
19.30 – The teams are back on the pitch and I’ve got myself a hot coffee after emptying the last one into the loo. Leinster on the attack. Toner does excellently with the restart.
19.33 – TRY! Give me a break – this is brutal from Cardiff but stunning from Leinster. Jordi Murphy hammers his way through the Welsh defensive ranks with assistance from his back row colleagues. Seven tries and 38 minutes still remain. Cue Horror Show headlines in your morning papers – and on TheScore.ie. Sexton adds the extras to make it Leinster 47-3 Cardiff
19.39 – Josh Navidi goes close to scoring for Cardiff and really should have in fairness. The subs are flowing on now – van der Merwe, Cronin and Ruddock are all on for Leinster.
19.44 – TRY! A muted response greets a try from Alex Cuthbert – another Welsh international who has underperformed thus far. All too easy as he charges through two flailing tackles to score in the right-hand corner. Halfpenny misses the conversion. It is Leinster 47-8 Cardiff and there is plenty of time for more scores. Carr on for D’Arcy now.
19.48 – TRY! Are the exclamation points needed at this stage? Damien Browne is the latest to add his name to the try-scorers list. Ruddock and Ross go close near the posts before Madigan flicks on a pass to set Browne up for the charge over from close range. Sexton converts the eighth Leinster try and it is now Leinster 54-8 Cardiff. Mother of mercy.
19.52 – Here is an update without a try to report. Macken looking good in defence with some strong tackles. Leinster have possession just inside the Cardiff half but Cronin knocks on a Reddan pass.
19.57 – Murphy concedes a penalty and Cardiff go for touch. 17 minutes remaining as Halfpenny goes close up the left. Cuthbert is then hauled down over on the right flank within sight of the tryline. Plays comes back out left and Cardiff have the numbers. TRY! It is left to Halfpenny to dash over. Not many cheers for that one either. Leinster 54-15 Cardiff as the fullback converts his try.
20.03 – TRY! It’s getting close now (not really). A fine kick and chase by Tom Williams and the bounce fools Fionn Carr, allowing Tom James to nip in and score his team’s third try. Conversion from Halfpenny makes it Leinster 54-22 Cardiff
20.12 – Inventive defence there from Leinster as Madigan crossfield kicks to Kearney. Sean Cronin then monsters a Cardiff prop to win a penalty. Carr thinks he has try number nine but play is called back. Just three minutes left. The Blues, bizarrely, could get a bonus point if they can manage to nab another try.
20.14 – TMO! Fionn Carr could have a wonder try here. Also – Jordi Murphy named man of the match.
20.16 – TRY! It gets the nod. Sexton with a beautiful crossfield chip that Carr takes at full pelt. There is a defender at home but he wriggles free to touch down. Sexton misses the conversion and the final score is Leinster 59-22 Cardiff. That is the last action and it is FULL-TIME
20.18 – Stay with us over the evening for updates, interviews and post-match banter from the RDS. Cheers.