Leinster roll on

2012-10-20 17:27

Paris - Defending champions Leinster made it two from two with a victory over Scarlets in European Cup action on Saturday as four-time title-winners Toulouse survived a scare at Italian outsiders Treviso.

Leinster, seeking an unprecedented third consecutive Cup triumph, backed up their narrow 9-6 victory over Exeter last week with a hard-fought 20-13 win over the Welsh region, 49-16 losers at Clermont in their opening match, to top Pool 5.

Toulouse went into the break of their Pool 2 match 18-9 down and then fell 21-12 behind before a late three-converted try revival saw them emerge 33-21 winners over Treviso, with neither side claiming a bonus point.

"It's a shame because we didn't score enough tries," said Toulouse captain Thierry Dusautoir. "That's because of our first half performance.

"It's tough to play Treviso, and we're not disappointed (not to take the bonus point). The essential thing was to win. After the break, we were the better side in the basics."

In west Wales, Jonathan Sexton got Leinster off to a perfect start, nailing a penalty after a ruck infringement straight from the kick-off in their Pool 5 tie.

The Irish province's sole try came from Fijian winger Isa Nacewa, who latched on to a precision-perfect kick from Sexton, riding George North's tackle to touch down.

Sexton pushed the conversion wide, as did Priestland with his first penalty attempt after 15 minutes.

But the Ireland fly-half made no mistake with his second penalty to hand Leinster a 11-0 lead after the first 40 minutes.

Priestland fluffed another penalty effort early in the second half as Sexton bagged another three points with a monster drop-goal.

The Wales number 10 finally got the Llanelli-based team's first points on the board in the 48th minute with a penalty.

Centre Gareth Maule then dragged Scarlets back into the game, beating vaunted Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll with a step on the outside to cross in the corner, Priestland claiming the extras.

Sexton and Priestland each notched up a further penalty each, but the Irishmen held firm with a series of strength-sapping scrums that saw a flagging home side suffer.

In Italy, Australian-born Treviso fly-half Kristopher Burton hit four penalties in the first quarter of an hour to build up a 12-3 lead over Toulouse, before trading penalties with opposite number Luke McAlister, the former All Black.

Toulouse's teenage hooker Christopher Tolofua was sinbinned and Treviso went into the break 18-9 up.

With more penalty trading early in the second half, Toulouse upped the ante and a penalty try and a five-pointer from marauding No 8 Louis Picamoles, both converted by McAlister, saw the French club suddenly move 26-21 ahead.

Veteran wing Vincent Clerc then claimed Toulouse's third try of the afternoon, which ended with Tolofua seeing red with five minutes to play after the referee adjudged him to have used a spear tackle in clearing out a ruck.

Saracens, who beat Edinburgh 45-0 last week, made it two wins out of two in Pool 1 with a 30-13 win over Racing Metro in a match played at Brussels' King Baudouin stadium.

The English side scored three tries through Chris Wyles, Steve Borthwick and Will Fraser with fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicking 15 points.