Edinburgh lost away to Leinster for the 11th time in a row as Richard Cockerill’s side left the RDS empty handed and suffered their third defeat of the season. All of them have come away from home.
Edinburgh trailed 12-0 at the interval, but Magnus Bradbury’s try early in the second half had closed the Scottish outfit to within five points. However, from there on the game in Dublin was bossed entirely by Leinster, who closed out the bonus point win thanks to tries from Jordan Larmour, Johnny Sexton and Garry Ringrose. Edinburgh’s South African prop Pierre Schoeman was sent off nine minutes from time when he caught Dan Leavy with a leading arm.
Following their win over Connacht last weekend, Cockerill elected to leave Blair Kinghorn, Henry Pyrgos, Matt Scott and Stuart McInally at home, and he handed first starts to Jamie Farndale and Juan Pablo Socino, while Dave Cherry also debuted off the bench on a frustrating night for Edinburgh.
Making his 150th appearance for Leinster in the Pro14, captain Sexton was one of 13 Irish internationals in the home starting XV, but one of his first involvements was to pick himself off the ground following a shuddering hit from Luke Hamilton. The Ireland No 10 was on the ground for several phases after that, but he still returned before the end of the move, although Edinburgh defended stoutly and cleared their lines when Luke McGrath stretched for the try-line and knocked on.
Edinburgh had enjoyed an earlier spell of possession in the Leinster half, before the concession of a penalty halted their multi-phase attack, but the Scots visitors were largely pinned in their own 22.
There appeared to be some relief when Bradbury stole a Leinster lineout, but when Sean Kennedy’s box-kick was blocked by Devin Toner – the scrum-half wasn’t helped by much blocking from his pack – Fergus McFadden finished off Toner’s good work. Sexton converted for a 7-0 lead after 16 minutes.
The response from Cockerill’s side was impressive, although fruitless. A long Jaco van der Walt penalty brought play up to the Leinster line, but despite a couple of attempts from the maul and more than 20 phases under the posts Edinburgh couldn’t score. How the Leinster line remained intact was a wonder and eventually a Jamie Richie knock-on brought the toil to an end.
Edinburgh were then on the receiving end of a decision by referee Dan Jones, who reversed a 38th-minute lineout after he saw the replay on the big screen. It had a huge effect, with Leinster striking out for their second try off first phase. Edinburgh can feel aggrieved about the lineout decision as James Lowe appeared to knock on the ball into touch, but there was no stopping Leinster’s incisive move.
The build-up involved a sweet reverse pass from lock Toner and a brilliant underarm offload by Larmour, but Lowe’s finish was lethal for a 12-0 half-time lead.
Things improved after the break for Edinburgh, though. A great break down the left from Duhan van der Merwe and his offload to Chris Dean brought them to within touching distance of the try-line, but this time they didn’t allow Leinster cover to reorganise and Bradbury stretched to score. Van der Walt’s conversion made it 12-7.
Leinster looked to have hit back straight away, but Lowe’s try was disallowed because of a Josh van der Flier forward pass. But try No 3 came on 51 minutes when Sexton sent Larmour dancing under the posts.
The score was converted, putting Leinster 19-7 ahead, but they didn’t stop there and went in search of the bonus point try. They had three attempts at a maul over from five metres, but after Lowe was held up over the line, Sexton struck down the short side off the ensuing five-metre scrum.
Schoeman was sent off nine minutes from time when he connected with Leavy with his forearm when carrying the ball. And Edinburgh’s woes were complete when Ringrose touched down after a brilliant turnover attack.