Connacht were defeated 47-19 by Leinster in an entertaining clash at the RDS tonight. 

 

Despite the Westerners scoring three tries through Mack Hansen, Sammy Arnold, and Conor Oliver — with Jack Carty tacking on two conversions — it was the hosts’ night, who scored seven tries in total.

 

The away team began the game well with a typical ambition and they looked to attack at every opportunity.

 

 

A scrum penalty in their own 22 brought Connacht up to halfway and from there they launched an attack. Jarrad Butler pierced through on a break and the away team earned another penalty. 

 

Carty elected to go to the corner and the Westerners once again advanced further with carries — with Leva Fifita, Alex Wootton, and Conor Oliver all adding their considerable skills in the area — before an advantage was called for a Leinter infringement. 

 

Carty then beautifully executed a kick into the hands of Hansen and the winger — showing a huge degree of dexterity — fielded the ball in mid-air to touch down for a try of beautiful proportions. 

 

Leinster began to eke their way into the contest after the 20th minute and they had their reward when Ruddock — after a series of phases deep in Connacht territory — barged over from close range for a try that Byrne converted to give the hosts the lead for the first time at 7-5. 

 

The away team dusted themselves off after that and began to assert themselves on proceedings. After winning a penalty in the Leinster half, Carty — in a kickable position — opted to go to the line and his bravery and trust in his forwards was justified when the Westerners crafted a try. 

 

Working the ball wide from the set-piece after a few phases from the forwards, Carty cleverly fed the ball to Arnold, and the centre — running a powerful angle — burst over the line for a brilliantly manufactured try. Carty slotted the conversion and Connacht found themselves in the lead again at 12-7.

 

To their credit, though, Leinster responded in kind and dotted down the fourth try in an extremely entertaining half when Ringrose caught an offload from Michael Ala’alatoa to touch down. Byrne added the extras and home retook the lead at 14-12.

 

With the momentum behind them, the hosts added another try when Sheehan — showing a great turn of pace — crossed in the corner. The conversion was wide and the teams went into the break with the scoreline reading Leinster 19-12 Connacht. 

 

The home team began the second half in a similar fashion and they had their bonus point try three minutes after the interval. Moving the ball to the opposite flank from a line out, Leinster created an overlap and Larmour was there to take advantage to dive over. Byrne kicked the conversion to extend the Blues’ lead to 26-12. 

 

Leinster’s strong start to the second half continued when Doris was the next to crash over for a try, barging over from close range for a score that Byrne converted to swell the home team’s lead to 33-12. 

 

A profitable second period continued and the home team had their sixth try when Baird reached through a ruck to touch down. Byrne made no mistake from the tee and Leinster lead 40-12. 

 

Connacht responded well and they once again used their line out as a source of a try. Fifita claimed it and the ball was spun to wide by Caolin Blade. Carty was next to receive and he deftly put Hansen through a gap and the winger beautifully offloaded to Oliver — who was running a smart trail line — to touch down. Carty added the extras to bring the score to 40-19.

 

Leinster had the final say when Deegan was the beneficiary of a break from Nick McCarthy and fielded the scrum halves offload to touch down for their seventh try. Byrne added his sixth conversion of the evening to make the score 47-19 and that’s how the game finished up. 

 

(15-9)

 

15: Oran McNulty 

14: Alex Wootton 

13: Sammy Arnold 

12: Peter Robb 

11: Mack Hansen 

10: Jack Carty (C)

9: Kieran Marmion 

 

(8-1)

 

8: Jarrad Butler 

7: Conor Oliver 

6: Eoghan Masterson

5: Ultan Dillane 

4: Leva Fifita 

3: Finlay Bealham 

2: Dave Heffernan 

1: Matthew Burke 

 

Replacements: Shane Delahunt for Heffernan, Jordan Duggan for Burke, Jack Aungier for Bealham, Sean Masterson for Butler, Cian Prendergast for Dillane, Caolin Blade for Marmion, Conor Fitzgerald for Carty, Tom Farrell for Arnold. 

 

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