REPLACEMENT SCRUM-HALF JOHN COONEY was the late hero for Leinster as he dived over for the bonus point try in injury time.
Inside centre Andrew Goodman scored all of his Leinster’s first half points before his teammates cut loose after the break to defeat Llanelli Scarlets 32-5.
Goodman, signed from the Tasman Makos in New Zealand’s ITM Cup last summer, is effectively playing for his Leinster future in the closing games of the season.
It would be advisable for the Kiwi to reveal any extra cards he may have up his jersey sleeves before the summer months close in. He kicked Leinster 3-0 in front after 11 minutes after good play from the home pack.
The half, at a sparsely populated RDS, was brought to life after 16 minutes when George Earle was yellow carded for hauling down Leinster’s Jordi Murphy in a lineout.
Ben Marshall took exception to the South African’s grubby actions and a 20-man bout of pushing and pulling ensued.
Murphy (right) lies prone as tempers flare. (©INPHO/Ryan Byrne)
Goodman sized up a kick that would make it 6-0 but dragged his effort left and wide. Scarlets outhalf Owen Williams made him feel better soon after by erring from a placed kick that he should have slotted over.
Loosening the legs
Move of the half came courtesy of a neat combination between Fionn Carr and Dominic Ryan, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Treviso last week.
Ryan was dragged out of play but good work from Michael Bent and Aaron Dundon meant Leinster gained possession in the Welsh 22. Five phases went by before Bent was penalised for nor releasing the ball whilst on the attack.
Dave Kearney and Murphy were the next Leinster duo to link up and scythe through the Scarlets defence. Their break led to space out wide left but Goodman spilled an Eoin O’Malley pass with the tryline unguarded.
Play was called back for a Leinster advantage and the inside centre slotted a penalty over to make it 6-0.
On 32 minutes, Kearney sprinted down the right wing before linking up with Andrew Conway and Noel Reid. The young outhalf found Goodman, who bulldozed through Williams and dived over in the corner. His conversion was just short but Leinster led 11-0.
Simon Easterby’s players have made a habit of snatching away wins this season and the dangerous Andy Fenby raced over after 35 minutes to make it 11-5.
On 38 minutes Reid managed to rattle the posts from 15 metres out and straight in front. Leinster coach Joe Schmidt would be demanding more of a side hoping to reel in league-leading Ulster.
Leinster dominated the second-half and Shane Jennings was unfortunate not to be awarded a try when he roll around the blindside of a maul to touch down. His stretch was adjudged to be too short.
The home side were not to be denied as Dundon benefited from a similarly destructive, rolling maul before detaching to dive over.
Ian Madigan, on for Reid at half-time, slotted the conversion but missed a simple penalty attempt to leave the score at 18-5 going into the last quarter.
With 10 minutes remaining, Murphy, who showed no ill effects of his lineout crash-landing, took a John Cooney pass on the charge and dived over. Madigan’s conversion made it 25-5.
The bonus point did not look likely as Scarlets pressed late on but a Madigan break, bullish forward play and a Cooney snipe left Schmidt a very happy man.