Despite a huge first half of rugby from both sides, Leinster leave Franklin’s Gardens with a bonus point win as discipline errors see Saints overpowered by their guests in the second half.
The first ten minutes were all with Leinster, as the travelling side got on the scoreboard within two minutes of kick off. Leinster’s full-back Rob Kearney made a break through Saints’ line and offloaded to Garry Ringrose who got over the whitewash.
Leinster looked dangerous from the restart and Kearney broke the home side’s line once again before knocking on within the Saints 22. A drive from Heaslip moments later, however, put the Leinstermen in a good position again. The skipper Isa Nacewa sent a penalty through the posts to extend the away side’s lead to 10 unanswered points.
Saints seemed to use this as a wake-up call and began to make good attacks up the pitch but the home side could only earn three points before the hal time break arrived with Stephen Myler sending over a penalty on 19 minutes.
Leinster thought they had scored just before the break but Sean O’Brien’s crossing of the tryline was scratched from the scoresheet by the TMO and the game went into half time 3-10 to Leinster.
Saints started the second half with some intensity and sent Ahsee Tuala over the line after a clever pass from JJ Hanrahan found the replacement winger with space out wide. Myler converted to level things but this was were Saints’ scoring was to end for the night.
Leinster added a penalty through Nacewa just after Saints’ score and began to push their hosts once again. After barrelling their way close to the line, Leinster’s scrum half Luke McGrath picked off the back of a ruck and got close but it was to be O’Brien that got the score. Nacewa converted once again to bring the score to stretch the deficit to ten points.
Saints were reduced to 14 men as Dylan Hartley was shown a red card by the referee Jerome Garces and Leinster’s attack heightened. Rory O’Loughlin found himself on the end of a crossfield kick from Ross Byrne and beat Ben Foden in the aerial battle to score the try.
Tuala recovered some yards for Saints on the restart but Leinster regained possession and their bonus point score came through Jamison Gibson-Park after a turnover from the guests.
Saints were reduced to 13 in the dying minutes as George Pisi was shown a yellow card and Leinster pushed on to score once more before the game was up. The captain got over the line after Leinster found an overlap but missed the conversion his own score with the last play.
2mins LEINSTER Try Ringrose Con Nacewa 0-7
11mins LEINSTER Pen Nacewa 0-10
19mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-10
HALF TIME Saints 3 Leinster 10
45mins SAINTS Try Tuala Con Myler 10-10
49mins LEINSTER Pen Nacewa 10-13
56mins LEINSTER Try O’Brien Con Nacewa 10-20
58mins SAINTS Red card Hartley 10-20
66mins LEINSTER Try O’Loughlin 10-25
75mins LEINSTER Try Gibson-Park Con Nacewa 10-32
78mins SAINTS Yellow card G Pisi 10-32
79mins LEINSTER Try Nacewa 10-37
FULL TIME Saints 10 Leinster 37
SAINTS Foden; K Pisi, Burrell, Hanrahan, Elliott, Myler, Groom; A Waller, Haywood, Hill, Paterson, Lawes, Gibson, Wood, Picamoles
Subs – Hartley, E Waller, Denman, Ratuniyarawa, Harrison, Kessell, G Pisi, Tuala
LEINSTER Kearney, A Byrne, Ringrose, Henshaw, Nacewa, Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, RTriggs, O’Brien, Van Der Flier, Heaslip
Subs – Tracy, Healy, Bent, Ruddock, Conan, Gibson-Park, R Byrne, O’Loughlin