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RaboDirect Pro12: Leinster defeated Cardiff 26-11
Leinster consolidated their position in the RaboDirect Pro12 play-off places with a 26-11 victory over Cardiff Blues.
Cardiff had been enjoying a home revival of late but the game was effectively over as a contest by half-time and a brave fightback after the break was never going to be enough.
Ian Madigan kicked the visitors into an early lead but opposite number Rhys Patchell cancelled it out in the 13th minute, although he did then miss a long-range effort to put the Blues in front.
Leinster lock Tom Denton was sin-binned following an off-the-ball incident and they were still a man short when Madigan put them back in front with a kick that hit both post and crossbar.
Blues then infringed after a Jason Tovey fumble to allow Madigan to extend the lead and Leinster emphasised their superiority with a try from scrum-half Isaac Boss, who squeezed over from a ruck four minutes before the break.
There was still time for the Irish to cross again though, wing Harry Robinson ruled that he had taken the ball back over his own try-line and from the resulting scrum, number eight Jordi Murphy dived over.
Madigan's conversion gave his side a 20-point lead at the turnaround but Cardiff came out blazing with number eight Robin Copeland making ground into the opposing 22, but the backs were kept at bay.
However, the try came on 50 minutes with Tovey sneaking in at the corner, although Patchell's conversion attempt embarrassingly never left the ground.
The young stand-off did add three points before the hour when Leinster were caught offside, and a Patchell burst briefly raised home hopes only for play to be called back.
Madigan stroked over a penalty on a rare visit to home territory 10 minutes from time and the visitors re-established control as the game petered out, without threatening a bonus point.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 26th December|
|14:05||Cardiff Blues vs Dragons|
|Thursday 1st January|
|14:05||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:40||Cardiff Blues vs Leinster|
|Wednesday 14th January|
|TBC||Munster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 17th January|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Rovigo|
|Saturday 24th January|
|TBC||Grenoble vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|15:00||Wasps vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 7th February|
|15:00||Cardiff Blues vs Leicester|
|Saturday 21st February|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Edinburgh|
|Saturday 7th March|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 19th December|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 9 Scarlets|
|Saturday 13th December|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|London Irish 34 - 23 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 6th December|
|Cardiff Blues 24 - 14 London Irish|
|Friday 28th November|
|Cardiff Blues 36 - 25 Treviso|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 14th November|
|Cardiff Blues 19 - 13 Scarlets|
|Friday 7th November|
|Newcastle 21 - 22 Cardiff Blues|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com