Connacht rugby beaten by impressive second string Leinster

champions cup rugby
Devin Toner claims the lineout despite pressure from Connacht captain Jarrad Butler. Photo credit: Shane Tighe

Leinster minus 8 first-team players were far better than Connacht rugby at the SportsGround on Friday night, beating them 42-11.

It could have been worse for Connacht as Leinster missed three chances to score tries in the second half after they had already secured the bonus-point win in the first 40min.

Leinster’s front five dominated the first half of the contest. Here the pack are within inches of their third try. Photo credit: Shane Tighe

“It wasn’t a pretty night, on many fronts, we copped a few more injuries and we met a quality Leinster side” said Connacht coach Andy Friend

“We always knew they were going to be quality, but they dominated us in the first 40 minutes and they went into the break 29 points up. I suppose the only saving grace is that we showed a fair bit of spirit in the second half and fought hard and it was one try a piece, but the damage was done.

“We talked at half-time. You have to get your body in front, it’s a desire thing. We didn’t show it in the first 40 minutes, but in the second 40 minutes we started to.”

Leinster’s James Lowe picks off a careless pass and races the length of the field for a try. Photo credit: Shane Tighe

But one has to think it’s very easy to show up against a team in second gear playing with the bonus point in the bag.

Connacht was missing, Ultan Dillane, Finlay Belham, Quin Roux and Gavin Thornbury and it really showed in the first half when Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher forced over tries. Kelleher won the man of the match and looks a certain starter in the coming years for Ireland.

Andy Friend will be hoping Montpeilier sends over a third-string side next Sunday for his sides opening Champions Cup match, as any stronger Connacht will be in real trouble.

SCORING SEQUENCE – 3 mins J Carty pen, 3-0; 6: A Porter try, R Byrne con, 3-7; 13: R Kelleher try, R Byrne, 3-14; 17: D Leader pen, 6-14; 21: R Kelleher try, R Byrne con, 6-21; 29: A Porter try R Byrne con, 6-28; 33: R Byrne try and con, 6-35. HT 6-3548: S Fitzgerald try, 11-35; 69: J Lowe try, R Byrne con, 11-42.

CONNACHT: D Leader; N Adeolokun, T Farrell, P Robb, S Fitzgerald; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, F Bealham; C Gallagher, J Maksymiw; E Masterson, J Butler (capt), P Boyle.

Replacements: D Robertson-McCoy for Bealham (3 mins), B Aki for Robb (11- 21), S O’Brien for Gallagher (18-23, HIA), B Aki for Robb (11- 21), K Godwin for Carty (18-31), C Faianga’a for Masterson, D Heffernan for O’Brien (both 50); d M Burke for Buckley (62), K Godwin for Adedokun (63).

LEINSTER: H Keenan; A Byrne, J O’Brien, J Tomane, J Lowe; R Byrne, L McGrath; C Healy, R Kelleher, A Porter; D Toner, S Fardy (capt); J Murphy, W Connors, M Deegan.




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