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RaboDirect Pro12: Leinster defeated Cardiff 26-11
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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 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 4th April|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|12:45||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 9th May|
|TBC||Scarlets vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 16th May|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Zebre|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Friday 20th February|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 43 Leicester|
|Sunday 1st February|
|Wasps 42 - 45 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 24th January|
|European Rugby Challenge Cup|
|Grenoble 3 - 28 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 16th January|
|Cardiff Blues 104 - 12 Rovigo|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com