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Published: 21:15 | 29/1/16

Dragons slay Leinster in Wales

23-13 defeat at Rodney Parade

Leinster spurned the chance to return to the top of the Guinness PRO12 table as they went down 23-13 to Newport Gwent Dragons at a rain-soaked Rodney Parade.

Tries from Ashton Hewitt and Jason

Tovey, who also added 13 points with the boot, proved too good for an

ill-disciplined Leinster who replied Luke McGrath's try and eight

points from Fergus McFadden.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen had to do without more than 30 first-team squad members for the clash due to a combination of injury and international commitments, with 12 changes from the side that lost to Wasps in the Champions Cup last weekend.

Hewitt opened the scoring in the fourth minute, bursting through a poor Leinster defence to touch down close to the posts.

Tovey added the conversion to make it 7-0 to the home side with barely four minutes on the clock.

But Leinster fought their way back into the game and McFadden reduced the arrears with a well-taken penalty on ten minutes after the Dragons were penalised in the scrum.

The visitors were ahead four minutes later when McGrath, named as captain for the first time, found space in the Dragons defence and ran in from 20 yards to score under the posts.

McFadden had the simplest of tasks in adding the conversion to give Leinster a 10-7 lead.

Hewitt crossed again for the home side moments later, but his effort was ruled out for an earlier knock-on.

The Dragons continued to press and came agonisingly close on a number of occasions to a second try, while the Irish side lost flanker Dan Leavy to the sin-bin on 26 minutes for consistent offending at the set-piece.

The home side were finally rewarded with a second try just after the half hour mark as Tovey crossed in the corner before adding the conversion himself to make it 14-10 to the Dragons.

Tovey added a drop-goal from close range shortly afterwards to make it 17-10 after Leinster had coughed up possession on their own line-out.

McFadden reduced the deficit to four points with his second penalty of the game five minutes after the restart.

Leinster began to pile on the pressure after that, spending long periods deep in the Dragons 22, but were unable to pierce a staunch home defence.

The Dragons stretched their lead with another Tovey effort, this one a penalty, to make it 20-13 with 12 minutes remaining.

Any hopes Leinster might have had of returning to the top of the table for a few hours at least were dealt a further blow when McFadden was yellow-carded for foul play shortly afterwards, forcing Leo Cullen's side to see out the remaining nine minutes a man down.

And they were made to pay a minute from time as Tovey slotted his second penalty of the game to ensure that Leinster had nothing to show for their toils on a cold and wet night in south Wales.

By: Kieran O'Daly

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