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Leinster

  • Fitzgerald (2), Murphy, Reid,
    Penalty goals: Madigan,
    Conversions: Madigan (2),
27 - 0

Zebre

RaboDirect PRO12: Leinster extend lead with bonus-point win

Last updated: 21st March 2014  

Leinster Rugby s Noel Reid in action Pro12

Noel Reid: scored his fifth try of the league campaign

luke fitzgerald leinster ospreys

Luke Fitzgerald: Claimed two tries for Leinster

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Jordi Murphy scored the bonus point try in injury-time as Leinster beat Zebre 27-0 to move six points clear at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.

In a penalty-ridden first half at the RDS, place-kickers Ian Madigan and Tommaso Iannone missed two shots apiece in a difficult swirling wind.

Centre Noel Reid's fifth try of the league campaign - while Iannone was in the sin-bin - gave Leinster an 8-0 interval lead.

Matt O'Connor's men gradually lifted the intensity and Luke Fitzgerald's brace of tries, scored after 59 and 66 minutes, confirmed Leinster's ninth straight win in all competitions.

The defending champions pushed for a late bonus point and the tiring Italians conceded a fourth try right at the death, Leinster building from a close-in lineout and flanker Murphy was mauled over.

Leinster were back in action after a three-week break and as Zebre leaked four penalties in the opening seven minutes, only desperate defence kept the hosts scoreless.

They settled for a three-pointer from Madigan with bulldozing runs from Murphy and man-of-the-match Richardt Strauss driving Leinster forward from the restart.

The scrum offered Zebre some reward but Iannone knocked a long range penalty wide. He had another unconvincing strike in the 22nd minute, after a good kick chase from Giulio Toniolatti and a subsequent collapsed maul.

The Italians managed to disrupt the breakdown as Leinster's wait for a first try continued, with Darragh Fanning missing an opportunity to release Reid from a Madigan cross-field kick - it was one of a number of breaks that the province failed to finish off.

Yellow card

The same attack ended with Zebre out-half Iannone being penalised for hands in the ruck and referee Marius Mitrea reached for his yellow card.

After Madigan missed the resulting penalty from the right, the Leinster pack built through the phases and had Zebre under intense pressure in their 22 before Reid stepped inside two defenders to touch down to the left of the posts.

The sloppiness continued from both sides early in the second period, with successive attacks spoiled by loose kicking, dropped passes and a general anxiousness.

Fitzgerald, the game's most dangerous runner, had precious few chances to threaten but he was fed by replacement Reddan to dive over in the left corner following a powerful lineout maul.

Madigan, celebrating his 25th birthday and his 100th Leinster cap, nailed a terrific conversion from the touchline and the home side quickly added their third try.

Reddan supplied quick ruck ball and after a wraparound move between Madigan and Shane Jennings, Reid passed for Fitzgerald to go over again in the left corner.

This time Madigan's conversion went narrowly wide and after Zebre failed to capitalise on some pressure, Leinster ended the game in the ascendancy with recent Ireland debutant Murphy grounding a final converted score.

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Guinness PRO12 Table

Guinness PRO12 Table - September 19 2014
Pos Team P Pts
12 Zebre 3 0
Forthcoming Guinness PRO12 Fixtures
TimeFixture
Guinness PRO12
Saturday 20th September
Guinness PRO12
14:40Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow
18:00Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso
Sunday 21st September
16:00Ospreys vs Edinburgh
Friday 26th September
19:35Leinster vs Cardiff Blues
19:35Edinburgh vs Scarlets
19:35Glasgow vs Connacht
Saturday 27th September
15:00Zebre vs Ulster
18:30Munster vs Ospreys
Sunday 28th September
16:00Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 3rd October
19:35Ulster vs Edinburgh
19:35Zebre vs Ospreys
19:35Connacht vs Cardiff Blues
Saturday 4th October
18:30Leinster vs Munster
Sunday 5th October
15:00Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow
16:00Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons
Friday 10th October
19:35Munster vs Scarlets
Saturday 11th October
TBCBenetton Treviso vs Connacht
14:40Edinburgh vs Newport Gwent D'gons
16:00Zebre vs Leinster
17:05Ulster vs Glasgow
Sunday 12th October
16:00Ospreys vs Cardiff Blues
Friday 31st October
19:35Ospreys vs Connacht
19:35Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso
19:35Leinster vs Edinburgh
Saturday 1st November
TBCScarlets vs Zebre

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