Cheika seeks consistency from Leinster

Scarlets 7 Leinster 32
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The Independent Online

Although the clearest evidence of Leinster's triumphal trumpeting of their best Heineken Cup form may have been declared publicly in a stunning first half against Scarlets, the angst in the dressing room after the match was arguably just as telling.

There, the Leinster players hung their heads as if the game itself had been lost. "I'm delighted with that first half and the result," declared coach Michael Cheika, before leavening his praise. "I don't want to be on too much of a downer but we didn't get too much of a look-in in the second half. We need to look at that."

Leinster were in control after scoring the first try and before the half-hour, they had their third. Eoin Reddan's quick-thinking lineout sparked it off, CJ Van Der Linde doing well to keep the move alive before Shaun Berne to race home. However, they lost their way in the second half with the bonus in sight, becoming too soft in defence, irresponsibly off-loading and taking some poor options.

Yet Cheika's side have soul on and off the sward and this was at once a resounding affirmation of their status as European champions and a measure of atonement for their unlikely opening-round defeat to London Irish.

Scorers: Scarlets: Try Davies; Conversion Jones. Leinster: Tries Berne, Horgan, D'Arcy, O'Brien; Conversion Berne 3; Penalty Berne 2.

Scarlets: D Evans, A Fenby, S Lamont, J Davies, L Williams, S Jones, M Roberts (T Knoyle, 72), I Thomas (P John, 65), K Owens (E Phillips, 76), D Manu, L Reed, D Day (V Cooper, 71), S Easterby (capt), R Pugh (R McCusker, 76), D Lyons.

Leinster: R Kearney, S Horgan, B O'Driscoll (F McFadden, 72), G D'Arcy, I Nacewa, S Berne (G Dempsey, 76), E Reddan (P O'Donohoe, 74), C Healy (S Wright, 72), J Fogarty (B Jackman, 70), C Van Der Linde (M Ross, 51), L Cullen (capt, M O'Kelly, 76), N Hines, K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.

Referee: C White (England).