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Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Leinster v Cardiff Blues

Paul Eddison 7 Sep 2017

Fresh from an impressive win on the road, Leinster return to Dublin looking to make it two from two against a Cardiff Blues team in need of a win. The pair will meet at the RDS on Friday evening in a game kicking off at 7.35pm.

What’s at stake? Leinster had won 20 straight games in all competitions at the RDS until they were stunned by the Scarlets in last season’s semi-final so Leo Cullen’s side will be keen to bounce back in their first home game of the campaign. They face a Cardiff Blues side who were undone on home soil last week by Edinburgh and will be on the road for three of their next four games.

Team news (Leinster): Leo Cullen has made four changes to the Leinster side that beat the Dragons last time out, with Luke McGrath coming in at scrum-half. In the pack, James Tracy gets the nod at hoooker, while Rhys Ruddock and Jack Conan both come into the back row.

Team news (Cardiff Blues): For the Cardiff Blues Danny Wilson has made six changes from the team that went down at home to Edinburgh last weekend. Four changes come in the backline, with Rhun Williams, Garyn Smith, Tom James and Steven Shingler all brought in. Meanwhile in the pack there are starts for Keiron Assiratti and Macauley Cook.

Talking points: There was no hiding from the disappointment of the opening weekend for Danny Wilson, who felt his side failed to match the physical aspect of their opponents. Against a Leinster side who were very strong in defence, notably early on against the Dragons, Wilson is very much aware that the Blues cannot afford to be outmuscled for the second week running.

Key battle: Having just turned 20, tighthead prop Keiron Assiratti is only taking his first steps in the professional game, but will start in Dublin in the absence of Tau Filise. His opposite number at scrum-time will be the vastly experienced Ireland and Lions international Cian Healy in one of the bigger disparities in terms of time in the game.

Key stat: It has been seven years since Cardiff Blues last lost their first two games of the season. However their record against Leinster in recent times has not been great, losing their last 12, although they managed a bonus point in each of the last three, including two defeats by a single point.

Did you know? Devin Toner will become only the sixth Leinster player to have represented the province 200 times when he starts on Friday. He joins Jamie Heaslip as the only other active member of the squad to have achieved a double century of appearances for the side.

Leinster: R Kearney; A Byrne, R O’Loughlin, I Nacewa, J Larmour; R Byrne, L McGrath; C Healy, J Tracy, M Bent, D Toner, S Fardy, R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: S Cronin, E Byrne, A Porter, M Kearney, D Leavy, N McCarthy, C Marsh, B Daly.

Cardiff Blues: R Williams; A Cuthbert, G Smith, R Lee-Lo, T James; S Shingler, L Williams; R Gill, M Rees, K Assiratti; S Davies, D Welch; M Cook, J Navidi, J Turnbull.

Replacements: K Myhill, C Domachowski, D Lewis, J Down, S Bennett, T Williams, J Evans, M Morgan.

TV: TG4/BBC Wales (KO 7.35pm)

Match officials – Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU). Assistant Referee 1: F Murphy (IRFU). AR2: Eoin Hogan-O’Connell (IRFU). TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (IRFU).

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Cronin leads the charge in Leinster’s bonus-point victory over Cardiff Blues

Becky Grey 8 Sep 2017

Sean Cronin made an early bid for the try of the weekend as the hooker put in a 50m sprint to dot down in Leinster’s 37-9 defeat of Cardiff Blues.

Thirteen of Leinster’s points came from the boot of Ross Byrne, with James Tracy coming from the midst of a maul to score the home side’s first try.

It was a valiant defensive effort from the Welsh team in the first half, but the pressure from the hosts only intensified as the game went on and they earned a bonus point with four tries.

Byrne seemed more mature than his 22 years, showing impressive awareness as he sent a cross-field kick to Barry Daly for Leinster’s third try, before Nick McCarthy crossed the whitewash for the fourth.

Cardiff Blues were the first to get on the board, against the run of play, as Steven Shingler slotted a penalty on his first start of the season, before mistakes from the Leinster scrum allowed him to double the lead in the 28th minute.

Leinster soon settled the score when a lineout on the five-metre line brought the first try of the game, with Tracy, a new addition to the starting XV this week, the man to dot down from a driving maul.

Byrne made no mistake with the conversion to claim a narrow lead for his side, before a tackle off the ball from Josh Navidi gave the fly-half a chance to extend Leinster’s lead as the first half drew to a close.

Danny Wilson’s men were quick to respond at the beginning of the second half, winning a penalty to allow Shingler to bring his side to within one point of the hosts.

But Byrne came straight back to add six more points, bouncing the ball off both posts and eventually finding a way through for the first of those two penalties.

Cronin then took centre stage, looking like anything but a 105kg forward as he pinched the ball from the visitors at the breakdown and covered half the pitch to score.

Daly, on for Rob Kearney, was then equally as athletic as he leaped into the air to catch Byrne’s kick one-handed and add another score for the hosts.

Leinster soon found more holes in the Cardiff Blues’ defence, making swift offloads to help McCarthy get over in a slick team try.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138