Dave Kearney and James Lowe both touched down twice as defending champions Leinster ran out 50-15 bonus point winners over Dragons in rain-soaked conditions to maintain their perfect Guinness PRO14 record.
Kearney took his season’s haul to five tries in three matches, while 20-year-old academy fly-half Harry Byrne marked his first start with a try and five conversions in a man-of-the-match performance.
Michael Bent, with his second score in three games, Kearney and Byrne all touched down to establish a 19-8 half-time lead for the hosts. Dragons deserved to be closer on the scoreboard but an opportunist Jordan Williams try did keep them in contention.
Nonetheless, Leo Cullen’s men were in rampant form in the second half. Ronan Kelleher, Lowe’s double and replacement Hugh O’Sullivan’s try took them to the half-century mark. Owen Jenkins scored Dragons’ second try from a last-minute turnover.
Determined to put last week’s lacklustre 3-0 win over Zebre behind them, the defending champions hit the front in the eighth minute when prop Bent burrowed over from a close-in ruck.
Byrne missed the conversion and Dragons replied with Sam Davies’ 19th-minute penalty which rewarded Taine Basham’s surging break. It was soon 12-3, though, as a pacy Leinster move out to the right ended with Scott Penny supplying an inviting inside pass for winger Kearney to finish off.
Byrne’s first successful conversion was followed a scrappy spell, Dragons advancing before they made the most of a ball that went to ground. Winger Jenkins managed to get his boot to it ahead of Jimmy O’Brien and full-back Williams reacted brilliantly to score in the left corner.
Leinster’s third try, eight minutes before the break, was a fortuitous one as Italian referee Andrea Piardi appeared to get in the way of defender Richard Hibbard right on the Dragons’ line.
The converted score from youngster Byrne, who nipped over from a Jamison Gibson-Park pass, was allowed to stand and owed much to initial carries from Conor O’Brien, Ryan Baird and James Lowe.
As the weather worsened considerably on the resumption, the hosts went up through the gears. Hooker Kelleher piled over from a 43rd-minute lineout maul and Kearney added the try of the night soon after.
He gobbled up Byrne’s cross-field kick and then cut inside three defenders to score after great support running from Conor O’Brien and Penny.
Rory O’Loughlin and Jimmy O’Brien used some deft footwork and a draw-and-pass to release Lowe for try number six, before O’Loughlin’s kick through went loose from the retreating Davies and O’Sullivan swooped to score.
Byrne drilled over both conversions and also added the extras following Lowe’s second of the night, the burly winger galloping clear after Williams had taken his eye off a pass in the 63rd minute.
Dragons looked set for a disheartening finish as they missed out on likely tries from a series of attacks. Leinster replacement Max Deegan denied Basham near the right corner, but they gained some consolation when Luke Baldwin and Adam Warren combined to send Jenkins over for a closing seven-pointer.