RaboDirect Pro12: Leinster race to bonus-point win over Zebre in Parma
Last Updated: 10/02/14 8:04am
Leinster maintained pressure on RaboDirect Pro12 leaders Munster by racing to a 31-8 bonus-point victory over Zebre in Parma on Sunday.
Matt O'Connor's men moved to within three points of their rivals as they ran four tries passed Zebre, with John Cooney, Noel Reid, Zane Kirchner and Darren Hudson all touching down.
Leinster did not have it all their own way however as Shane Jennings was forced to make a last-ditch tackle to deny Kelly Haimona in the opening exchanges.
Moments later, an undeterred Zebre continued to press on and deservedly took the lead when Dries van Schalkwyk drove his way over from close range.
The Irishmen soon found their rhythm and found their first try seven minutes later.
Cooney came off the back of the scrum to split two defenders before Jimmy Gopperth added the conversion edge Leinster ahead.
A Gopperth penalty arrived on the cusp of half-time to give the visitors a 10-5 advantage.
Leinster resumed where they left off, with a second try straight after the restart. Reid racing clear, leaving Gopperth with a simple conversion under the posts.
Zebre responded with a penalty from Kelly Haimona, but three-point contributions were not good enough and Kirchner showed them how it should be done as he crashed on to an offload for a try, with substitute Ian Madigan converting.
A fourth try then rounded things off with Hudson sidestepping over the line with seconds remaining, with Madigan again on the spot with the two points.
Leinster have the opportunity to temporarily take top spot on Friday when they host mid-table Newport Gwent Dragons, with Munster facing Zebre on Saturday evening.
Fri 24th Apr
Edinburgh37 - 0Zebre
Ulster26 - 10Leinster
Sat 25th Apr
Connacht13 - 31Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues23 - 31Ospreys
Munster30 - 19Treviso
Dragons10 - 29Scarlets
Fri 8th May
Dragons0 - 0Edinburgh
Leinster0 - 0Treviso
Ospreys0 - 0Glasgow Warriors
Sat 9th May
Ulster0 - 0Munster
Zebre0 - 0Connacht
Sun 10th May
Scarlets0 - 0Cardiff Blues
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues0 - 0Zebre
Connacht0 - 0Ospreys
Edinburgh0 - 0Leinster
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Munster0 - 0Dragons
Treviso0 - 0Scarlets
RaboDirect Pro12 2013/14 R13
Glasgow Warriors stretched their unbeaten run to five matches with a 27-9 win against Ulster.
Glasgow edged out a resilient Connacht 8-6 in blustery conditions to maintain their bid for a top-four finish.
Munster recorded their biggest win of the season with a 54-13 demolition job of Cardiff Blues.