Leinster outclass Ulster as they end 2016 on a high

Leo Cullen's side kept Ulster scoreless for most of the game

Rory O'Loughlin, Leinster, Ulster,

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

It was a less experimental side than the one that Leo Cullen named for the trip to Thomond Park just a few days ago, and that showed as they dominated Ulster at the RDS. 

Ulster failed to get off the mark early with Ruen Pienaar missing his first kick, and that was to be a bit of a theme for the rest of the afternoon. 

Leinster, on the other hand, were decisive and made their chances count, in particular using the lineout as a powerful weapon. Rory O'Loughlin was the first to cross the whitewash for the home side, as his blistering pace got him away from some worryingly half-hearted challenges.

Nacewa had his kicking boots on and slotted over the conversion to give Leinster a 7-0 lead, and was on target again shortly afterwards with a penalty to extend the lead. 

Luke McGrath's try, Leinster's second, came straight off the training ground, as a short lineout was offloaded to the onrushing scrum-half, whose pace opened up the pitch, and there was nothing but green grass ahead of him. 

Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Whatever Les Kiss said at half-time didn't work in the slightest, as the hosts increased their lead from 17-0 to 22-0 within minutes of the restart. 

A lovely kick through the backline from Ross Byrne found O'Loughlin again, as he went over in the corner to extend the lead and heap misery on Ulster. 

Even with a man advantage in he second half when Jack McGrath was shown yellow, Ulster were unable to force a score over the line as the final pass continued to elude them. They came close on a number of occasions but handling errors or strong defence from the hosts was enough to keep them out. 

They did eventually cross the line as Pienaar's no look pass late on opened up some space in the defence, and Piutau powered over to spare Ulster's blushes. 

Still, there was only one team in the game, and while Cullen will no doubt be pleased with the fact that they kept their visitors at bay, he will be disappointed that they lacked the killer instinct to get the fourth try and the bonus point.