DRAGONS DOWNED BY LEINSTER
The Newport Gwent Dragons were left disappointed following their second visit to Ireland within a week, after defeat to European champions Leinster at the Royal Dublin Showground.
A close first half saw the Dragons trail just 6-3 at the interval. However, two tries in as many minutes at the start of the second half from Macken and Madigan followed by a late Carr try condemned the Dragons to their second successive defeat despite a try from Jason Tovey.
Leinster started the game the brighter as they looked to make amends for their defeat to the Ospreys last weekend and were ahead after just six minutes thanks to an Isa Nacewa penalty.
The Fijian saw a second attempt at goal just two minutes later drift wide. After the early onslaught the Dragons were back on terms through the boot of Jason Tovey following some hard work by the forwards.
Leinster enjoyed much of the first half possession but were kept at bay thanks to some tough Dragons’ defence. Flying wing Fion Carr produced a scintillating run with 30 minutes on the clock before releasing fellow wing Dave Kearny only to be denied a certain score by a last ditch Martyn Thomas’ tackle.
Leinster regained their lead just a minute later again through the boot of Nacewa. This seemed to spark the Dragons into life who produced a period of concerted pressure inside the hosts’ half. However, hopes of adding to the first half tally were dashed as the Dragons were penalised for loitering offside deep inside the Leinster 22.
Referee Andy Macpherson brought an end to the first half which had seen plenty of endeavour from both sides and the Dragons firmly in the game.
Leinster began the second half with a bang as Carr produced a scything run through the Dragons’ defence. He sped past Gavin Thomas before finding centre Macken who ran home to score the try, Nacewa was unable to add the conversion.
The Dragons were further behind just minutes later as this time fly half Madigan tore through the defence jinking past the oncoming Steffan Jones before speeding to the line to, despite the best efforts of Mike Poole Madigan, touch down. Nacewa added the extras to make the sore 21-3.
Following their quick-fire double, Leinster looked to turn the screw further but it was the Dragons who gained the next score thanks to a fine counter-attack sparked by Pat Leach. The centre broke up field before combining with Jason Tovey to send the outside-half under the posts. Tovey converted his score to spark hopes of a Dragons come-back.
The ever-reliable Nacewa steadied the home side’s nerves with another successful penalty while the Dragons’ cause was hindered further by the sin binning of stand-in captain Tom Willis who was penalised for interfering at the ruck.
The Dragons were unable to add to their score with Leinster happy to close the game out in the final stages, there was one final act however, the superb Carr claimed the final try of the game, no more than he deserved for a fine display.
Leinster (6) 31
Tries: Macken, Madigan, Carr Pens: Nacewa 4 Cons: Nacewa 2
Dragons (3) 10
Try: Tovey Pen: Tovey Con: Tovey
Heinke van der Merwe , Richardt Strauss , Jamie Hagan , Damien Browne , Devin Toner , Kevin McLaughlin , Dominic Ryan , Rhys Ruddock (c), Cillian Willis , Ian Madigan , Dave Kearney , Eoin O'Malley , Brendan Macken , Fionn Carr , Isa Nacewa
Replacements: Matt Berquist for Ian Madigan (56), John Cooney for Cillian Willis (56), Leo Auva'a for Rhys Ruddock (62), Mark Flanagan for Damien Browne (62), Aaron Dundon for Richardt Strauss (66), Darren Hudson for Dave Kearney (71), Jack McGrath for Jamie Hagan (71), Jack O'Connell for Matt Berquist (73)
Tries: Eoin O'Malley (45), Ian Madigan (48), Fionn Carr (77) Conversions: Isa Nacewa (49, 78) Penalties: Isa Nacewa (6, 31, 55, 60)
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS
Phil Price , Tom Willis (c), Ben Castle , Adam Jones , Robert Sidoli , Andrew Coombs , Gavin Thomas , Hugo Ellis , Joe Bedford , Jason Tovey , Michael Poole , Patrick Leach , Tom Riley , Adam Hughes , Martyn Thomas
Replacements: Dan Way for Ben Castle (30), Steffan Jones for Adam Hughes (40), Lewis Evans for Hugo Ellis (52), Wayne Evans for Joe Bedford (52), Jamie Smith for Steffan Jones (59), Rhys Buckley for Adam Jones (64), Adam Jones for Tom Willis (71), Nathan Williams for Phil Price (74), Jevon Groves for Andrew Coombs (79)
Tries: Jason Tovey (57) Conversions: Jason Tovey (58) Penalties: Jason Tovey (12)
Cards: 62: Tom Willis - Yellow
Referee: Andy Macpherson (Scotland)