Irish giants Leinster thrash Southern Kings in PE
Irish eyes were smiling in Port Elizabeth when Dublin-based Leinster kicked off their South African Pro14 safari with a thumping 31-10 win over the Southern Kings.It was a third straight loss for the hastily assembled Kings who are struggling to find their feet in the enlarged European competition.Leinster took charge of the game early in the second half when they crossed for three decisive tries in 11 minutes to kill off the Kings’ hopes of a first win in the competition.The win was a big boost for the four-time champions who scored five scintillating tries in front of a small crowd of 3, 011 fans.Despite being hamstrung by visa problems, injuries and late withdrawals, the Irish outfit still had too much fire-power for the struggling Kings.After enjoying a slender 7-3 lead at the break, Leinster came out firing in the second half when centre Rory O’Loughlin crashed over for the Dublin’s side second try.The Irishmen, who moved up a few gears after the resumption, were 17-3 ahead after 38 minutes when hard-working No 8 Jack Conan crossed for his side’s third try.It was one-way traffic now and Leinster fullback Joey Carbery piled on the misery for the Kings with another five pointer after 51 minutes.The Kings drew first blood after three minutes when fullback Masixole Banda slotted the ball between the posts from 37 metres to put the home team ahead.Leinster then charged forward and centre Noel Reid sliced his way through the Kings defence to score the opening try of the game.Byrne made no mistake with the conversion and Leinster found themselves ahead 7-3 after nine minutes.Playing to their strength, the Kings backs were always keen spread the ball wide and they tested the Leinster defence with a series of attacking forays.The landmark visit by a weakened Leinster for Port Elizabeth’s first Pro14 clash, had invitingly offered the Kings a golden opportunity to score their first points.But the Kings were unable to subdue the street-wise Leinster side who managed to produce the goods despite missing key players.
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