Leinster stretched their lead at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table to 14 points after crushing Benetton Treviso 42-8 at the RDS on Thursday night.
Ian Madigan crossed for his sixth try of the campaign at the midpoint of the first half, helping the province on their way to an 11-3 advantage at the break.Matteo Muccignat's opportunist try saw the Italians draw closer, but Leinster blitzed them in the final quarter, scoring four tries to secure the bonus point. Man-of-the-match Isa Nacewa grabbed one of them and took his place-kicking tally to 15 points, while Richardt Strauss, John Cooney and Fionn Carr also touched down.
With the wet and windy conditions making handling difficult, the bonus point had looked out of reach for Joe Schmidt's much-changed side. Treviso were missing 15 of their internationals due to Six Nations commitments and put their faith in a bulky pack which provided a decent set-piece platform.
The home side, despite missing a plethora of front-line players, looked cohesive right from the off and Nacewa swung over a terrific opening penalty in the fifth minute. Nacewa and the ever-sprightly Brendan Williams both got a chance to stretch their legs early on, the former being hauled down by Benjamin de Jager as he looked to put Brendan Macken away.
The Italians, playing into the wind, levelled the game in the 19th minute with Alberto Di Bernardo's ugly drop goal which just squeezed over from the 22. But Leinster were back in front just three minutes later, the quick feet of Madigan allowing him to scoot away from two defenders and dive over in the right corner.
Nacewa missed the conversion and had to be on his toes to deny De Jager after a clever kick from Williams. Treviso continued to press, another solid scrum from the visitors winning a long range penalty which Di Bernardo missed to the right.
Building through the phases, Leinster made good ground through Macken and Leo Auva'a before Nacewa converted his second successful penalty from the left. Macken found a hole in the Treviso defence as half-time approached, but Franco Smith's men rescued the situation and ended the half in Leinster territory.
Crucial interventions from Shane Jennings and Fionn Carr helped Leinster keep their try-line intact, early in the second period. A missed penalty from Di Bernardo kept the margin at eight points. However, after Nacewa landed his third penalty, Treviso struck for a try which their efforts merited.
A well-timed 55th-minute pass from Pedro Di Santo sent fellow prop Muccignat over in the right corner with Di Bernardo narrowly missing the conversion. Leinster had a game on their hands at 14-8, but they purred to victory with a typically swashbuckling run of scores. It started off with Isaac Boss passing for Strauss to barrel over from close range.
Nacewa added the extras. Shortly afterwards, the fullback linked with David Kearney before taking a return pass to cross out wide for another seven-pointer. As Treviso tired, Leinster pushed for a fourth try and it came in the 71st minute as Nacewa broke and drew the cover to send replacement scrum-half Cooney over from just outside the 22.
Carr, who threatened throughout with ball in hand, was rewarded in the final minute when he gobbled up a Madigan kick and jinked over for try number five.