Leinster Rugby recovered from a sluggish start to overwhelm Connacht with eight tries in Round 2 of the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup at The Sportsground.

Leinster were intent on putting a stop to a two-match losing streak and coach Leo Cullen showed this by starting two British and Irish Lions in Jack Conan and Andrew Porter, while holding another, Tadhg Furlong, on the bench.

But, the Westerners were quicker into their stride, Ciarán Frawley pulling Caolin Blade into a ruck for Conor Fitzgerald to open the Connacht account from 30 metres in the third minute.

A slip in discipline by Luke McGrath, being spotted offside, offered an easy exit for the home side.

Jarrad Butler’s speed onto the ball gave Connacht the gain line. When Scott Penny was slow to roll away at a ruck, Fitzgerald was on target from further out in the sixth minute.

Again, Connacht were secure in receipt of the restart and they were aggressively up into the faces of the Leinster carriers, scrum-half Blade picking up the pieces from McGrath’s loose pass to sprint clear of the cover, Fitzgerald’s conversion making it 13-0 in the eighth minute.

Leinster had to climb out of an early hole and they would have to do it from deep when Blade’s ball over the top tumbled inside the 22.

The alert poaching skills of Josh Murphy forced a badly needed turnover. But, it wasn’t long before Tom Daly was making ground, and Sean O’Brien too, to force a high tackle on Blade, Fitzgerald striking for a 16-point lead in the 14th minute.

Then, out of nothing, Leinster manufactured a vital breakthrough. Penny, Murphy and Ross Molony leading the charge at a counter ruck that produced quick ball, Frawley connecting with Hugo Keenan for a fine try.

Niall Murray’s error meant a penalty and attacking lineout for Leinster. Garry Ringrose and Frawley’s silky skills opened the way for Dave Kearney to threaten up the left.

The recycle came at speed. Byrne’s long left-handed pass was collected by Scott Fardy and Keenan took McGrath’s feed to reach for the line.

Byrne added the extras from wide left to make it 16-14 at the end of the first quarter.

The tide was turning at the breakdown where flanker Murphy was to the fore again, Denis Buckley going off his feet to concede a penalty.

The Leinster maul got going at a rate of knots, driving fully 15 metres for James Tracy to claim a third try in eight minutes.

The Leinster lineout-maul went into overdrive again soon after, Tracy peeling away to grind out the yards.

Close to the line, they stayed true to their form all season in honey-potting around the ball for Molony to drive to the line to secure the fourth try.

The quick reaction of Fardy on the floor forced another penalty. Connacht were pinned inside their 22 until Murray’s powerful surge made a difference.

Shortly after, out-half Ross Byrne launched a pinpoint kick into the arms of replacement Rory O’Loughlin. An inside pass on halfway enabled Kelleher to scoot to the right corner.

Once again in the second half, the maul was a problem, drawing a penalty from Dave Heffernan and Oliver collapsing the drive.

Leinster went back to the same method, Porter the man to earn the sixth try.

When Tracy was slow in retreating, the Connacht maul looked primed to strike back, hooker Heffernan stopped short by Josh van der Flier.

Then, the chasing Keenan flattened Fitzgerald and Penny locked onto Blade for a penalty in midfield.

Unsurprisingly, Connacht caved in under the pressure of another maul, Fardy finding the soft spot for another try in the 54th minute.

Soon, van der Flier forced a turnover. Leinster attacked at speed, McGrath and Kearney combining for the latter to be denied by the last-ditch tackle of centre O’Brien.

The latest good decision by Ringrose to catch Fitzgerald in the backfield yielded a penalty.

The Blues could not quite manage the clinical edge to add to their bounty of scores.

When Tadhg Furlong lost his feet at a ruck, Connacht drove a maul close and Peter Sullivan had the leg drive to resist Ryan Baird and Rowan Osborne for 45-21 in the 70th minute.

The Leinster scrum were later penalised on halfway. Fitzgerald angled a penalty to within 10 metres.

Connacht could not keep their discipline. O’Loughlin was good for a turnover. Osborne hacked the ball ahead and pressured Arnold.

A delightful chip by Ringrose was an unlucky bounce away from popping up for Kearney.

The final nail was driven in by van der Flier’s bruising break, O’Loughlin’s offload and the completion of Keenan’s hat-trick, rounding it up to a half-century of points for Leinster.