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Luke McGrath grabs brace against Cardiff as Leinster make it 13 wins out of 13

28 Jan 2023 2 minute read
Cardiff Rugby

A youthful Leinster team maintained their BKT United Rugby Championship table-topping form with a 38-14 win over Cardiff at the RDS.

Luke McGrath scored two tries in a 10-minute spell, adding to Max Deegan’s opener, as Leo Cullen’s much-changed side led 19-0 at half-time.

Cardiff struggled to get going in greasy conditions, a Jason Harries yellow card being swiftly followed by Brian Deeny’s 49th-minute bonus-point score.

Cardiff had two late scores from replacements Rory Thornton and Kristian Dacey, in response to a Max O’Reilly effort, but the hosts had the final say when Liam Turner capitalised on a loose pass from Ellis Bevan.

Despite the returning Rey Lee-Lo landing a thumping tackle on Harry Byrne, Leinster took a sixth-minute lead through their industrious forwards.

Having been held up short moments later, number eight Deegan powered over for an unconverted try following John McKee’s tapped penalty and an inviting pass from Scott Penny.

McKee and Deegan again gained ground, midway through the first half, before a slick penalty move saw Byrne release McGrath to make it 12-0.


A Jarrod Evans spill spoiled a promising attack for Cardiff, while their pillar defence went missing when McGrath sniped over from a 29th-minute ruck. Byrne converted.

Turner’s barnstorming break – off a Ben Brownlee offload – kept Leinster on the front foot in the second half, and further pressure saw Cardiff winger Harries binned for a deliberate knock-on.

Second row Deeny then drove over with support from Deegan, Byrne’s conversion widening the margin to 26 points. James Botham was busy at the breakdown for Cardiff but for little reward.

Instead Leinster went further in front before the hour mark, Chris Cosgrave’s looping pass putting fellow Academy back O’Reilly over in the right corner.

Cardiff finally built momentum off a Harries run, and from a subsequent penalty, Botham was hauled down short before Thornton plunged over for Evans to convert.

Corey Domachowski’s eye-catching break led to a close-range seven-pointer from Dacey, yet a sidestepping Turner took Leinster’s try haul to six. Replacement Charlie Tector converted for his first points at this level.

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