A FIRST-HALF that promised so much delivered nothing for Edinburgh as Leinster ran in five second-half tries to take the maximum haul from the visit of the Capital side.
Duncan Hodge’s side dominated most of the first half, but only had one Duncan Weir penalty to their name at the interval, while Barry Daly had Leinster up and running.
And, after the Scottish side couldn’t build on their impressive show, Leo Cullen’s troops upped the tempo of their play after the restart to take victory, 39-10.
Weir scored all ten of his side’s points, including a try nine minutes from time, but a third defeat in a row to Irish provinces will vex the Edinburgh coach.
Hodge said: “There were times we were stringing phases together and causing them problems, we just couldn’t quite put the finishing touches on it. We couldn’t get the tries we needed to give us the boost really.
“I didn’t think we were great in the first-half either, but we could have gone in with a half-time lead. Then in the second-half we, ach, everything took its toll: mistakes, our errors, injuries, just everything. It’s our fault.
“Our error rate is way too high. We’re just giving up too much cheap possession. We want to keep the ball and put them under pressure. But they played conditions well in the second-half and scored some good tries.”
For certain the loss of Dominic Ryan and Josh Van Der Flier from the Leinster back-row had an adverse impact on the home side before the break, but even before the duo were forced off injured Edinburgh impressed. Skipper Neil Cochrane was to the fore in a stout defensive effort that kept van der Flier at bay after eight minutes, while the Scots looked solid in defence.
But they will have been annoyed to lose concentration after ten minutes, which allowed the home side to run in the lead try. From an Edinburgh scrum around halfway, a powerful shove from the home pack sent Edinburgh on the back foot, and from the next ruck the ball squirted out the side to replacement Dan Leavy – eventually Carbery’s looped pass skipped three men in the line and Daly scored in the corner.
But, until the break, it was the visitors who impressed the most. On two or three occasions in the second quarter they rolled through 20-plus phases only to come away from the half without a try.
It is a credit to Leinster’s own defensive effort that they remained intact, only for big tackles to deny their visitors a try, while on other occasions, Bradbury’s pass was deemed forward as Phil Burleigh galloped down the right wing.
There was some reward for Edinburgh, though, as Weir kicked a 35th minute penalty when Zane Kirchner was penalised for failing to roll away from the tackle area, but that only closed the gap to five points again after Carbery had given Leinster an 8-0 lead moments earlier.
The missed chances against Munster and Ulster were significant in their last two games, but Edinburgh have not had as good a chance to cross for a try as the one that went unclaimed just before half-time.
Weir kicked a penalty won at a scrum into the corner and after their maul was halted, a long pass form Chris Dean looked to have sent Tom Brown over. But the winger knocked on with the try-line gaping and they had to be satisfied with an 8-3 deficit at the break.
Brown appeared to pick up an injury during that effort and was replaced by Blair Kinghorn at half-time, while Derek Affiah made his second appearance of the night in place of Jack Cosgrove. But even with those changes there was no change in fortunes.
And seven minutes into the second-half the home side struck their second try of the night. An impressive rolling maul with James Tracy at the tail looked to be heading for the try-line only to fall short, but after a handful of phases, Edinburgh were unable to stop Ross Byrne and Carbery linking and the starting No.10 stretched to score. Carbery was again off target with the conversion, but Leinster’s injury jinx hit again in the 52d minute when Kirchner was forced off, which left scrum-half Luke McGrath on the wing for the rest of the game.
But, immediately McGrath was in the thick of the action on the right and he linked with Jamison Gibson-Park, who send Carbery in for his second try.
And there was no let up with a 20-3 lead either – a wonderful flat pass from Gibson-Park sent Daly in for his second try, which sealed the bonus point for the home side.
Leavy scored a fifth try for Leinster with 13 minutes remaining and Bryan Byrne added a sixth, but in the end it was easier than it should have been for Cullen’s troops.
Leinster: Tries: Daly (2), Carbery (2), Leavy, B Byrne; Pen: Carbery; Cons: R Byrne (3)
Edinburgh: Try: Weir. Pen: Weir; Con: Weir
Leinster: Kirchner (Gibson-Park 52); D Kearney (A Byrne h-t), O’Loughlin (R Byrne h-t), Reid, Daly; Carbery, L McGrath; Dooley (Porter 59), Tracy, Ross (Bent 44); Molony, McCarthy (B Byrne 64); Ryan (Leavy 10 HIA), van der Flier (M Kearney 14), Conan.
Edinburgh: Bryce; Hoyland, Dean, Burleigh (Tovey 53), Brown (Kinghorn h-t); Weir, Hidalgo-Clyne (Fowles 59); Cosgrove (Appiah 18-26 & h-t), Cochrane (Turner 50), McCallum (Beavon 74); MacKenzie (Gilchrist 59), Toolis (Carmichael 59); Bradbury, Ritchie, Du Preez.