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United Rugby Championship: Zebre 7-31 Leinster - Bonus-point win moves Irish side four points clear

Rob Russell of Leinster is tackled by Davide Ruggeri of Zebre
Rob Russell of Leinster is tackled by Davide Ruggeri of Zebre

United Rugby Championship: Zebre v Leinster

Zebre (7) 7

Tries: Trulla Con: Prisciantelli

Leinster (14) 31

Tries: Russel 2, Osborne, McGrath, Penny Cons: R Byrne 3

Leinster moved four points clear at the top of the URC table by securing a five-try bonus-point 31-7 win over Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Rob Russell and Andrew Osborne scored tries in the first half, with Luke McGrath and Scott Penny crossing after the break before Russell got a second.

Jacopo Trulla went over for Zebre, with Geronimo Prisciantelli converting.

Ross Byrne kicked three conversions as Leinster continued their winning record against the Italian side.

The Irish province have now won all 18 meetings between the teams.

Despite Leo Cullen's men travelling without the bulk of their Ireland Six Nations-winning contingent, they still fielded an experienced and quality side and it took just four minutes for them to take the lead.

It was a deft offload from Liam Turner that sent winger Russell cantering up the middle and under the posts for a converted try.

Leinster lost Turner for 10 minutes when he made head-on-head contact with Zebre fly-half Prisciantelli and the hosts took advantage of their numerical advantage almost immediately when Prisciantelli executed an inch-perfect cross-field kick straight into the hands of Scott Gregory.

He offloaded to Trulla to score a lovely seven-pointer to draw his side level on 25 minutes.

Andrew Osborne, the younger brother of centre Jamie, then executed a perfect chip and chase into the corner after Zebre had Jacopo Bianchi binned for an off-the-ball tackle. Byrne converted to send the visitors in at the break with a narrow 14-7 lead.

Leinster added to their lead just after half-time when Max Deegan showed great strength to avoid the touchline and offload to McGrath to go over in the corner for an unconverted score.

The bonus point was secured on 50 minutes thanks to captain Penny after Turner's searing break. Byrne added the extras and it was game over.

This quick-fire double took the sting out of the game and Russell bookended the game with tries thanks to a good finish in the corner late on.

Zebre: Brummer; Di Giulio, Elliot; Bisegni, Boni; Canna, Renton; Rimpelli, Fabiani, Zilocchi; Ortis, Biagi (capt); Mbanda, Tuivaiti, Licata.

Replacements: Luus, Fischetti, Chistolini, Tauyavuca, Brown, Raffaele, Balekana, De Battista.

Leinster: Frawley; Russell, Turner, J Osborne, A Osborne; Byrne, McGrath; Byrne, Barron, Clarkson, Molony, Jenkins, Connors, Penny (capt), Deegan.

Replacements: McKee, Milne, Ala'alatoa, Deeny, Mangan, Gunne, Prendergast, McErlean.