By Tadhg Peavoy
Leinster have claimed the away scalp of Cardiff Blues with victory in the RaboDirect PRO12 at Cardiff City Stadium.
A Jamie Heaslip break sent Sean O’Brien over for Leinster’s first try. Minutes later, a Sean Cronin pop-pass sent Rob Kearney steaming through to wrong-foot Leigh Halfpenny and cross the whitewash.
Cardiff clawed their way back through two penalties from the hoof of Halfpenny and a Dan Parks drop goal, before Jonathan Sexton kicked a penalty, which added to two earlier conversions, left Leinster coasting at the break.
Sexton added another penalty after the break; however, a Gethin Jenkins pushover-try and a Halfpenny penalty and conversion narrowed the gap between the sides to just a single point.
Cardiff smelled blood and won a penalty for offside at the breakdown. From the Leinster 10-metre line Halfpenny gave the penalty kick serious power, but the effort dropped just short.
Leinster couldn’t control the game and gave away another penalty moments later but – once more – Halfpenny couldn’t perform the magic from the tee.
With that the game switched, and following a late Cardiff tackle, Fergus McFadden extended Leinster’s lead with a well-taken penalty.
The Welsh side pushed hard for the remaining ten minutes, with Leinster fullback Kearney influential in clearing the danger with long punts downfield, as Cardiff turned over possession too easily and Leinster held on for victory.