Leinster Rugby came away from Rodney Parade for the first time in three visits with a 22-54 win after an impressive performance on a heavy pitch.
Guinness Man of the Match Jack Conan was the star of the show with another two tries to his name – both in the first half – but he was ably supported by Ross Byrne at outhalf, by an all-action Joey Carbery at full back and by a host of others in blue who left Newport with the maximum five point return.
It was the home side that started the brighter with an early penalty for Dorian Jones but Leinster would not look back after the 13th minute when Jack Conan touched down. But the try was all down to the exquisite elusive running of full back Carbery.
Having gathered an up-and-under just outside his own 22, the Clontarf man stood three Dragons forwards before stepping into a gap and taking off. Dragons full back Carl Meyer hauled him short of the line but he had Fergus McFadden and Jack Conan in support. Conan got the nod and over he went. Ross Byrne adding the extras.
It would get better again ten minutes later when Max Deegan (on as a sub for Peadar Timmins who had gone off with a HIA) took a superb line out before more Carbery magic and some grunt by the pack got Conan over for his second. Byrne added again to put Leinster 3-14 ahead.
To their credit the Dragons fought back well and should have reduced the the gap before half time but Jones’ penalty crashed off the crossbar and it was put out soon after to leave Leinster with an 11 point gap at the break.
It wasn’t long before they got going again in the second half as Adam Byrne took off on a mazy run before popping to Deegan who found Conan who in turn found Jamison Gibson-Park who darted over for 3-19 and Byrne again made it from out on the right.
Adam Hughes crashed over for the Dragons soon after in the corner and a recovery looked on but then Leinster went up a few gears and there was no answer.
First Ross Molony went over for the bonus point try on 54 minutes after again great work from the pack and then James Tracy, Hayden Triggs and Luke McGrath (twice) all got in on the act in a brilliant and clinical last 20 minutes from Leinster.
Ross Byrne orchestrating most and adding seven kicks from eight for good measure.
They will be disappointed to have conceded a further try late on to Sarel Pretorius but were able to hold on and deny Dragons the try bonus point and with Munster losing at home it sent Leinster to the top of the Guinness PRO12 table with Scarlets at home next week in the RDS.
The final footnote from Rodney Parade was UCD’s Ed Byrne who made his long awaited comeback after 56 minutes. His first game back after 28 months out injured.