AFTER BACK-TO-back defeats against Toulon and the Ospreys, Leinster had the chance to rediscover their winning habit as they hosted Treviso at the RDS.
The Italians were languishing in 11th on the Pro12 table, meaning Matt O’Connor’s league leaders were confident of securing the victory. Perhaps as importantly, Leinster fans were eager to see their side turn in a strong 80-minute performance.
Conditions at the RDS were perfect for the home team to unleash the high-tempo, expansive game plan many were hoping to see.
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Leinster 62 – 7 Treviso
16.24 – Welcome along to our liveblog from the RDS where the conditions are perfect for league leaders Leinster to turn in an attacking display as they look to get back to winning ways. How are the province’s fans feeling at this stage of the season? Is a Pro12 title likely?
16.25 – Without further delay, here are the starting teams and benches for this evening’s game. No late changes on either side.
Leinster: Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Brian O’Driscoll, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Martin Moore; Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy; Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip (capt.).
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Michael Bent, Tom Denton, Dominic Ryan, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Brendan Macken.
Treviso: Luke McLean; Ludovico Nitoglia, Michele Campagnaro, Christian Loamanu, Angelo Esposito; Mat Berquist, Tobias Botes; Matteo Muccignat, Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt.), Lorenzo Cittadini; Marco Fuser, Valerio Bernabò; Marco Filippucci, Paul Derbyshire, Robert Barbieri.
Replacements: Giovanni Maistri, Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, Pedro Di Santo, Antonio Pavanello, Dean Budd, Fabio Semenzato, James Ambrosini, Brendan Williams.
16.35 – The stadium announcer has just reminded the fans here at the RDS that the fixture against Edinburgh on the 10th of May will be the last regular season game Brian O’Driscoll and Leo Cullen play on this pitch. The game has been set aside as a chance for the fans to say thanks to that legendary duo.
16.39 – Around 20 minutes until we get underway, and both sides are out on the pitch going through their team warm-ups. Lots of energy and plenty of noise from both teams already; it’s hard not to think we’re in for an open game full of running rugby.
To kill the time before then, catch up on what the Leinster players and management had to say this week:
16.40 – Some strange scenes outside the RDS pre-game!
16.44 – We’ve avoided the temptation so far, but there’s beer on sale in the stadium too.
16.53 – Under 10 minutes until the kick-off and both sides have headed back into the changing rooms. Still lots of empty seats in the RDS but the supporters are starting to file in with pints in hand.
16.56 – TheScore.ie reader James is looking forward to watching one of the Treviso players in action and we have to agree with him.
I’d love to see Campagnaro get his hands on the ball in a bit of space. He showed loads of promise in the Six Nations and it’d be great for Italy to have a really class back in their team!
17.00 – Both teams out on the pitch now and we’re ready to go. Leinster set to kick-off through Jimmy Gopperth. Neil Paterson is the referee for this game…
17.01 – 1 minute - An attempt from Leinster to reclaim a short drop-off, but Devin Toner knocks-on unfortunately.
17.03 – 3 minutes - Luke McLean kicks clear from the Treviso half and Rob Kearney counters back. Leinster keeping the ball in hand and getting decent ruck speed. Nice handling from Brian O’Driscoll down the right-hand side…
17.05 – 4 minutes - Sustained pressure from Leinster leads to a penalty around 36 metres out and Gopperth is going to have an early shot at goal. Nice phase play from Leinster, with Rhys Ruddock and Jamie Heaslip making strong carries in midfield.
17.05 – PENALTY! Leinster 3-0 Treviso (Gopperth ’5)
17.07 – 6 minutes - Leinster put themselves under immediate pressure, as they fail to deal with the restart. Kearney eventually hacks the ball clear, but Treviso are back up to the home side’s 22 after a strong Barbieri carry.
17.09 – 8 minutes - Powerful defence from Martin Moore helps Leinster to force a knock-on in midfield and then Leinster again counter-attack from deep. Treviso put hands in the ruck and a Leinster penalty sees them kick to touch on the right-hand side, 40 metres out from the Treviso tryline.
17.10 – 10 minutes - Leinster just metres out now…
17.10 – TRY! Leinster 8-0 Treviso (Murphy ’10)
17.12 – 10 minutes - Leinster getting through the Treviso tackles with ease during that attack and Rob Kearney slipped an inside pass to Jordi Murphy to score. Good carry from Darragh Fanning off his wing in midfield two phases earlier.
Gopperth has missed the conversion.
17.14 – 14 minutes - An early change on the Leinster team. No word of what the injury issue is yet.
Brendan Macken is on for Brian O’Driscoll.
17.15 – 14 minutes - Ah, it seems O’Driscoll is off to have a cut taken cleaned up. Should return to play.
17.17 – TRY! Leinster 13-0 Treviso (Cronin ’15)
From nowhere, Cronin bursts away. Treviso messed up their line-out throw and there was no catching the hooker from 35 metres out. Some pace!
17.17 – CONVERSION! Leinster 15-0 Treviso (Gopperth ’16)
17.22 – 17 minutes - Long injury break here after a hefty collision in the air. Treviso centre Loamanu appears to the the player getting treatment at the moment. Stretcher is on, fingers crossed.
17.23 – 17 minutes - It is good to see that Brian O’Driscoll has returned after taking time in the blood bin.
17.24 – Here’s a shot of Sean Cronin dotting down after showing a typical burst of pace to get away from the chasing defence. Fastest hooker around?
Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
17.28 – 17 minutes - Treatment for the Treviso centre is ongoing. It was a similar situation to the incident for which Jared Payne was infamously red-carded recently, expect the Leinster player got up in the air too. The change has been made as Loamanu is driven off the pitch on a stretcher. Fingers crossed he will be ok.
Brendan Williams on for Christian Loamanu.
17.30 – 18 minutes - Play gets back underway and Leinster run a wide-wide pattern, shifting the ball from touchline to touchline with Noel Reid in the key passing position. Leinster kick the ball away, Treviso kick back and then Reid makes a darting half-break but Gopperth knocks-on the centre’s offload attempt.
17.33 – 20 minutes - Treviso have a decent patch of possession, but again Leinster look comfortable defending. Marty Moore with another strong hit in midfield, and then Murphy wins a turnover penalty on the next phase. Leinster kick to touch on the left…
17.33 – 21 minutes - O’Connor’s men have a chance here…
17.34 – TRY! Leinster 20-0 Treviso (Healy ’22)
The loosehead turns on the footwork to beat the first tackle then carries a man over the line to score!
17.35 – CONVERSION! Leinster 22-0 Treviso (Gopperth ’23)
17.36 – 23 minutes - Disappointment for Leinster immediately after that score.
Jordi Murphy leaves the pitch, with Dominic Ryan on in his place.
17.37 – 24 minutes - Searing break from O’Driscoll, who bursts out of the Leinster half and show good pace up the left-hand side. His gorgeous pace at high speed finds Reid, but the inside centre’s attempted switch with Kearney goes to deck. Excellent attack from O’Driscoll!
17.40 – TRY! Leinster 27-0 Treviso (Kirchner ’26)
Leinster are looking unstoppable at the moment as Treviso’s defence disintegrates again. Gopperth breaks clear in the middle of the pitch and offloads to his South African wing to score under the sticks.
17.41 – CONVERSION! Leinster 29-0 Treviso (Gopperth ’30)
Too easy so far.
17.44 – 29 minutes - Big hit from Toner then, but concedes a penalty as he fails to roll away. How far has the lock come in the past two years? A top-class second row now. Treviso will have an attacking platform inside the Leinster 22, on the right…
17.47 – 32 minutes - Hugely entertaining passage of play! Healy ripped the ball clear from the initial Treviso maul, surging away on the left. Slick passing from Reid and O’Driscoll sent the ball to Kirchner on the right and the wing’s chip almost bounced up for Gopperth inside.
Botes then produced a gorgeous offload as Treviso looked to counter from deep, before McLean almost broke clear. Eventually, the Italians kicked clear to touch and Leinster will have the throw near halfway.
17.50 – 33 minutes - More enterprise from Leinster, but the passage ends with a knock-on as Healy’s out-the-back-door offload. Reid was class there again, breaking and offloading. The inside centre has been really impressive today, looks so comfortable in the playmaking role at 12.
17.52 – 34 minutes - Treviso back into the Leinster half, after a sloppy breakdown penalty as O’Connor’s men went off their feet. Botes is looking to up the tempo and has taken to quick-taps to drag his side into the game.
17.54 – 36 minutes - Brilliant steal from Rhys Ruddock on the deck and Leinster go back on the attack, with Heaslip bursting away.
17.56 – 38 minutes - Oooh! Treviso nearly intercept as Leinster attack in the visitors’ 22, the hack the loose ball away up the pitch. Fanning and Kirchner cover back and after a moment of confusion, the latter fires the ball into touch. Carried back into the 22 by Leinster tough, meaning a line-out for Treviso 10 metres out, on the left.
17.58 – PENALTY TRY! Leinster 29-5 Treviso (’39)
The Italians were mauling over and Boss came in from the side to put a stop to it. Paterson goes under the sticks, no card though.
17.59 – CONVERSION! Leinster 29-7 Treviso (Berquist ’39)
17.59 – YELLOW CARD! Boss has actually been yellow carded for that infringement.
18.00 – HALF TIME: Leinster 29-7 Treviso
18.05 – The supporters who have turned up have been treated to a fairly exciting spectacle, even if that first half took a full hour to complete due to several injury delays. Also, we reckon Murph11 might be onto something.
Never saw such a big crowd at a league game. I wonder is it anything to do with being able to get a pint.
18.08 – This man has been back to his best here at the RDS, really muscular in contact and prominent at the breakdown. Rhys Ruddock’s best season for Leinster in his career so far?
Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
18.12 – Both teams have returned to the pitch and Treviso out-half Berquist readies himself to restart the game…
18.14 – 42 minutes - Excellent break from Macken right through the middle of Treviso’s defensive line and he then offloads to Kearney. However, Leinster are pinged for holding on. The home team have managed to steal the subsequent lineout however, and launch a garryowen back at Treviso.
18.16 – 44 minutes - Close one there for Leinster! Esposito grubbered the ball down the left-hand touchline and Fanning looked to have it covered. However, the big left wing slipped as he looked to scoop the ball up and Kirchner was then forced to touch the ball down in-goal. Carried back by Leinster hands, so it’s a scrum five metres out for the Italians…
18.17 – 44 minutes - A change for Treviso.
Barbieri limps off, with Dean Budd on in his place in the back row.
Treviso win a scrum penalty, but they opt to pack down again. The Italians clearly feel they have the measure of Leinster’s scrum…
18.19 – 45 minutes - Big scrum penalty for Leinster! That’s superb scrummaging work. Two Leinster subs to inform you of:
Jack McGrath is on for Healy, and Macken is on instead of Kirchner.
18.21 – 48 minutes - Dominic Ryan concedes a penalty at the ruck. His actual counter-ruck was excellent, but he came in from the side. Treviso attack from a line-out on the right, 40 metres out as they look to take advantage of their extra man…
18.22 – 49 minutes - Very close for Treviso again. Berquist went on a meandering run, changing direction inside and outside the defenders on the edge of Leinster’s defence, before offloading to Botes. The scrum-half went for over the try-line, but Kearney did well to hold him up.
Treviso back on the attack with that maul again though…
18.23 – 51 minutes - But Treviso knock the ball on just metres out and Fanning boots it clear down the left.
18.24 – 52 minutes - A further replacement for Leinster.
Luke McGrath on in place of Boss, whose sin bin period elapsed.
18.28 – 54 minutes - Leinster send up a bomb as they clear the ball out of their half and then Campagnaro beats off O’Driscoll’s tackle to put Treviso into a good attacking position. Berquist attempts a loop play off Fuser in midfield, when simple hands looked the better option and the result is a knock-on.
18.29 – 54 minutes - Martin Moore received treatment to his knee a few minutes ago, and he’s now been replaced, although he walks off the pitch unaided.
Michael Bent on for Moore.
18.31 – YELLOW CARD! Jack McGrath has been binned for dangerous use of the boot. He stretched over the top of a ruck and raked the ball out of Botes’ hands as the scrum-half looked to clear the ball out of a ruck.
18.33 – 56 minutes - Treviso go on a threatening attack immediately and make superb ground, until Leinster recover and win a turnover penalty through O’Driscoll. Two further changes for the home team.
Richardt Strauss in for Cronin, Tom Denton replaces Toner.
18.35 – 59 minutes - Bizarre passage of play! Rob Kearney skews an attempted chip off the outside of his boot, but managed to regather and breaks away down the right. He offloads to Macken inside, but the sub centre is tackled just short. His offload attempt bounces into touch off a Treviso defender.
Leinster in a promising position now…
18.36 – TRY! Leinster 34-7 Treviso (Ryan ’61)
From close-range the back row bounces over to score.
18.37 – 62 minutes - Off the post with the conversion, unlucky for Gopperth from out on the right.
18.39 – 64 minutes - Luke McGrath intercepts and now Leinster are away down the right! But no, Macken knocks-on in contact, a disappointing outcome there. Sloppy stuff.
18.40 – 65 minutes - With McGrath in the bin, Healy comes back on the pitch for this scrum. Ruddock off for the next few minutes.
18.41 – 66 minutes - Big round of applause for BOD as he gets called ashore.
Ian Madigan is on for O’Driscoll.
18.44 – TRY! Leinster 39-7 Treviso (Reid ’68)
Luke McGrath turns on the footwork and then beats the tackle of Maistri, on at hooker, to set up Reid. The centre deserves his try and bounced over the top of the last defender to dot down.
18.44 – CONVERSION! Leinster 41-7 Treviso (Gopperth ’68)
18.46 – YELLOW CARD! Esposito sent to the bin for tackling a man in the air as he chased Berquist’s restart.
18.48 – 70 minutes - Jack McGrath has been putting himself about since returning to the action after his yellow. He’s always lively off the bench, Leinster really are in a great position with himself and Cian Healy offering great options.
18.49 – TRY! Leinster 46-7 Treviso (Heaslip ’72)
Simple stuff as the No. 8 breaks a one-on-one tackle 25 metres out and strides clear to score!
18.50 – CONVERSION! Leinster 48-7 Treviso (Gopperth ’73)
From straight in front, easy.
18.53 – 75 minutes - ‘Come on you boys in blue’ rings out around the RDS as the merry crowd enjoy this performances. Leinster back on the attack now…
18.53 – TRY! Leinster 53-7 Treviso (McGrath ’76)
The impressive sub darts over from close range. A rout!
18.54 – CONVERSION! Leinster 55-7 Treviso (Gopperth ’77)
18.55 – 79 minutes - Man of the match this evening is Darragh Fanning. Very powerful in contact.
18.57 – 80 minutes - Leinster attacking from deep to finish the game. They don’t want to kick this out…
18.58 – TRY! Leinster 60-7 Treviso (Reid ’80)
Stunning breakout by the inside centre, who exchanges passes with Heaslip and then scores. That was from 70 metres out!
18.59 – CONVERSION! Leinster 62-7 Treviso (Gopperth ’80)
18.59 – FULL TIME: Leinster 62-7 Treviso
19.02 – That’s all we have time for, so thanks for joining us for an entertaining game. Match report and reaction to come. Enjoy the weekend!