Matt O’Connor’s defending champions Leinster put in a bonus point winning performance away from home last night when they cruised to a 42-19 win against the Scarlets.
The new coach will be delighted in particular with the performance of out half Jimmy Gopperth, the close season signing from Newcastle Falcons contributed 22 points as Leinster recovered from a slow start.
Leinster found themselves 13 points and a man down after 15 minutes courtesy of 2 penalties from centre Shingler, the second of which saw Kearney binned for a high tackle, and a McCusker try which Shingler converted.
Leinster responded in the 18th minute when prop Moore trundled over from a lineout move which Gopperth converted. Gopperth and Shingler swapped penalties and the teams went in with the Scarlets leading 16-10 at the break.
Leinster started brightest in the second half with Murphy crossing for their second try in the opening minutes which Gopperth duly converted. New signing Mike McCarthy made his debut in the second half as a replacement for Denton. Gopperth popped over another penalty before Leinster were reduced to 14 with Darren Hudson taking 10 minutes on the sideline for a high tackle on Liam Williams. Shingler and Gopperth swapped penalties again before Hudson ran in Leinster’s third try of the night. Gopperth again was unerring from the kicking tee as Leinster extended their lead to 11 points.
Dundon and Reid joined the fray for Cronin and D’Arcy before Gopperth ran in Leinster’s 4th of the night and converted leaving himself with 20 points after 73 minutes. Leinster’s McGrath and Scarlets Owen received the last two yellows of the night before Kearney crossed over in the right hand corner and Gopperth finished off with the conversion. A excellent start to Matt O’Connor’s reign as Leinster coach and for Gopperth in the post-Sexton era.
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