Leinster too strong in Dublin

Rob LloydNews

A battling young Scarlets side were well beaten by an international-studded Leinster outfit at the RDS in Dublin.

Dwayne Peel’s men went down to a fourth defeat of the BKT United Rugby Championship campaign, conceding eight tries in a 54-5 loss.

The damage was done in the opening quarter and again in the final 20 minutes, where Leinster ran in four converted tries against tiring opponents.

Scarlets scrapped throughout. Johnny Williams, his side’s lone try-scorer, was a threat with ball in hand, Carwyn Tuipulotu carried strongly, while Kieran Hardy produced some razor-sharp moments.

But ultimately, Leinster proved too strong, particularly with so many young players on the field for the Welsh side in the second period.

After returning Wales centre Johnny Williams was shown yellow for a dangerous tackle inside the opening minute, a Leinster side containing a host of current Ireland internationals, punished the visitors with two quickfire tries.

Turnover ball saw young fly-half Sam Prendergast freed on the inside by Jamison Gibson-Park for the first before the Ireland international scrum-half was at it again, sending a looping pass to wing Jimmy O’Brien, who cut inside for a second.

Back-rower Max Deegan added a third from close-range and Scarlets were already staring down the barrel, 19-0 down inside 16 minutes.

However, the West Walians, with possession and territory, started to make some dents and it led to a deserved try on 26 minutes.

Williams, back on the field after his earlier indiscretion, powered through to get his side on the front foot, and after No. 8 Tuipulotu was held up close, a tap penalty put more pressure on the home defence and Williams again showed good strength and footwork to cross wide out.

In blustery conditions, Charlie Titcombe’s conversion attempt drifted wide.

Buoyed by the try, Scarlets had further opportunities inside the Leinster 22, but the home side’s blue wall held out to keep the score 19-5 at the interval.

A brilliant break from his own half by livewire nine Hardy almost produced a stunning solo score, but moments later Leinster pounced on a handling error and in typically clinical fashion, Garry Ringrose was over for his side’s bonus-point try.

A period of attacking pressure led to centre Jamie Osbourne dotting down for try number five on 61 minutes and the Scarlets struggled to get out of their own half after that.

With the visitors emptying their bench, Leinster kept on coming. Replacement prop Jack Boyle was driven over for the sixth try and in a relentless tide of Leinster attacks, Osborne touched down for his second.

In the closing exchanges, replacement Scott Williams was shown yellow for a high hit, then in the final move of the match, Deegan sliced through to bring up the half century.

Scarlets will now look to pick themselves up for next Sunday’s West Wales derby against the Ospreys in Swansea.

Leinster – tries: S. Prendergast, J. O’Brien, M. Deegan (2), G. Ringrose, J. Osborne (2), J. Boyle. Cons: Prendergast (3), R. Byrne (4).

Scarlets – try: J. Williams