James Lowe amongst the action in first Irish game

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    27 Dec 2017     Getty Images

Playing in the keenly-awaited local derby with Munster, Lowe was part of two key scoring efforts which had Leinster up 27-5 at halftime and able to claim a 34-24 win.

The first was when fullback Jordan Larmour and Lowe combined in a mid-field break which saw first five-eighths Ross Byrne unleash a cross kick which saw loose forward Dan Leavy score in the eighth minute.

Then when ahead 20-5, Munster fullback Andrew Conway was sin-binned for an early tackle on Lowe when they were both chasing a kick to the Munster goalline by Larmour. Referee Nigel Owens consulted the television match official and awarded a penalty try.

Munster scored two tries, including one by Conway after his return, to get back to 19-27. But Leinster held the sway and in spite of a second try to Conway the home team had to suffer their first defeat at home since February.

In the big local derby clash in Wales between the Newport Dragons and the Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade in Newport, it was the visitors who claimed the win 22-17.

Newport were looking to former Welsh international Gavin Henson to make his mark at first five-eighths but while landing a conversion and penalty goal he was unable to lift his side.

Former Chiefs and Auckland five-eighths Gareth Anscombe landed two conversions and a penalty goal in the win. He was also involved in the set-up of Cardiff's first try, making the initial break before wing Owen Lane beat off Henson's tackle attempt and passing to wing Aled Summerhill who scored.

Up 22-3 with 15 minutes left, Cardiff had to withstand a determined home team finish.

Former Hurricanes and Samoan Test midfielder Ray Lee Lo celebrated an extension of his contract with Cardiff by adding to their try-scoring in the win.