LEINSTER CAME FROM behind to record a win in the opening round of the RaboDirect Pro12 for just the second time since 2003.
Scarlets started the game the better of the two sides and, after opening the scoring through two penalties, had the first try of the night on 13 minutes when Rob McCusker finished off a fine team move under the posts.
However, the try seemed to spark the defending champions into life and they crossed the whitewash themselves just four minutes later after some good work at the lineout.
The sides exchanged penalties before, early in the second half, Brendan Macken broke two tackles before off-loading to Jordi Murphy to score for Leinster. Jimmy Gopperth’s conversion gave them the lead for the first time.
Matt O’Connor’s men looked to have secured the win when Darren Hudson crossed the try-line after a great pass from Jack McGrath and they collected a bonus point when the former Falcons number 10, Gopperth – who kicked three penalties and four conversions – finished off an excellent night in the blue jersey with a try of his own before Dave Kearney rounded off the scoring, giving Leinster a 42-19 win.
Paddy Jackson reacts to a missed kick.
Image: INPHO/Presseye/Darren Griffiths
In tonight’s other game involving an Irish side, a bad night with the boot from Paddy Jackson saw Ulster slump to a 15-8 loss away to the Dragons.
The 21-year old missed a conversion and two penalties in the space of 15 first half minutes, misses that proved crucial as the Welsh side ran out 7 point winners in Lyn Jones’ first game in charge.
The Dragons were leading 6-3 when Ulster worked an exquisite set-piece at the lineout, setting up an unstoppable rolling maul before Roger Wilson touched down to put Ulster ahead.
Despite Jackson’s missed kicks, Mark Ascombe’s men lead at the break. However, Jason Tovey slowly drew the Welsh outfit back into the game with his boot and three second half penalties were enough to give them the win.