Two late changes to the Cardiff Blues team saw Dan Fish come in for the injured Fullback Chris Czekaj and Cory Allen move onto the bench in place of young scrum half Lewis Jones, who went down with a stomach bug. The Blues were already missing over a dozen players through international call ups and injury.
Sweeney and McFadden exchanged early penalties, but it was Leinster who got the first try after steady build up. They worked through the phases well, before Isaac Boss powered over form short range. McFadden added the extras and a further penalty to bring the score to 13-3.
Sweeney got a penalty back for the Blues but it was Leinster who were dominating the possession and territory in the opening quarter.
The Blues did look threatening on occasion, with Laulala going on his trademark mazy runs, gaining good ground into the Leinster territory and Sweeney managed to narrow the deficit with a penalty in the last minute of the first half.
Half time Leinster 13 Cardiff Blues 9
McFadden struck a penalty for Leinster from the restart. They soon extended their lead when moving down the left Madigan slipped a pass to prop forward Nathan White who showed good pace to sprint in to score under the posts. McFadden was again accurate with the boot and added a drop goal moments later.
Trailing by 17 points the Blues were chasing the game somewhat and opted to kick a penalty to touch. They won clean ball and drove agonisingly close to the try line. However, foul play prevented the try and Leo Cullen was sent to the bin.
The Blues opted for the scrum, which had to be reset a number of occasions before Rush finally picked and charged but the ball was frustratingly knocked on and this time Leinster had the put in and cleared the danger.
To make matters worse Richie Rees was yellow carded on the hour mark meaning both teams were now down to 14 men. Moments later Leinster got their third try when substitute scrum half Eoin Reddan slipped a pass from the base of a ruck to Ian Madigan to charge over. Fadden converted. Cullen returned to the field after the conversion and now the Blues were a man down.
Leinster were snow sensing the bonus point and putting real pressure on the Blues. It eventually came when Sexton put in a neat cross-field kick for Kearney to gather and touch down in the corner. Sexton was just wide with the conversion.
The next try came moments later. Cronin, Sexton and Nacewa combined well to get into the Blues twenty-two from their own half, before the ball was shipped to Kearney to score his second. This time Sexton didn’t miss with the conversion.
Leo Auva’a scored from short range in the last minute to crown a comfortable win for the Heineken champions.
Pen Sweeney x 3
Tries Boss x 1 White x 1 Reddan x 1 Kearney x 2 Leo Auva’a x 1
Pen McFadden x 3
Con McFadden x 3 Sexton x 2
D/G McFadden x 1
Yellow Card: Cullen, Rees
Cardiff Blues 15 Dan Fish 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala (64off) 12 Gavin Evans 11 Tom James 10 Ceri Sweeney (70off) 9 Richie Rees
8 Xavier Rush 7 Josh Navidi 6 Maama Molitika 5 Paul Tito (C) (64off) 4 Cory Hill (56off) 3 Taufaao Filise (70off) 2 Ryan Tyrrell (70off) 1 John Yapp (64off)
16 Marc Breeze (70on) 17 Nathan Trevett (64on) 18 Sam Hobbs (70on) 19 Macauley Cook (64on) 20 Michael Paterson (56on) 21 Cory Allen 22 Gareth Davies (70on) 23 Dafydd Hewitt ((64on)
Leinster 15: Isa Nacewa 14: David Kearney 13: Eoin O’Malley 12: Fergus McFadden 11: Fionn Carr 10: Ian Madigan 9: Isaac Boss
1: Cian Healy 2: Richardt Strauss 3: Nathan White 4: Leo Cullen (C) 5: Steven Sykes 6: Rhys Ruddock 7: Shane Jennings 8: Sean O’Brien
16: Sean Cronin 17: Heinke van der Merwe 18: Mike Ross 19: Damian Browne 20: Leo Auva’a 21: Eoin Reddan 22: Jonathan Sexton 23: Rob Kearney