A brace of tries each from Max Deegan and Garry Ringrose as well as further five-pointers from Dave Kearney, Ciaran Frawley, Joe Tomane and Luke McGrath helped the home side to a comfortable victory.
Leinster got off to a perfect quick-start as Connacht made a mess of an early line-out which led to Peter Dooley breaking through the defensive line before offloading to Deegan, who barged over for the opening try. Ciaran Frawley split the posts with the conversion to make it 7-0 after just two minutes.
The hosts had their second try just under ten minutes later as Connacht eventually collapsed under the pressure they were under. Leinster went through the phases in the Connacht 22 before unleashing their back-line as Garry Ringrose sent a looping pass out left to Kearney, who burst a couple of tackles to go over for the score. Frawley failed to convert this time around.
Leinster had number three two minutes later as they went from their own 22 all the way up the other end of the pitch. Frawley was on the end of the brilliant move by the home side, with Deegan darting through the Connacht defence before passing to his fly-half who ran under the posts. Frawley made no mistake this time around with the kick to push Leinster 19-0 ahead with less than a quarter of an hour on the clock.
They had the bonus-point wrapped up on 20 minutes as they fed the ball to Deegan from a line-out close to the Connacht try-line, he in turn sent it to Tomane who burst over for the fourth try of the game. Frawley kicked the extras to push the hosts further in front.
On 34 minutes the boys in blue were over for another five-pointer, as they went through the phases inside the opposition 22 before scrum-half McGrath had a quick pick and go from the back of a ruck close to the try-line and touched down for the try. Frawley converted once again to make it 33-0.
Three minutes on and Deegan scored his second of the evening and his team’s sixth after another break through the Connacht defence led to some phases in the 22 before the try. Frawley knocked over his fifth two-pointer of the night from the tee to leave it at 40-0 to the hosts come the half-time whistle.
It took a few minutes for the game to really get going in the second period, but Leinster hit top form once more eight minutes in as Deegan produced another sensational break through the defence before offloading to Ringrose, who raced over for the try. Frawley kicked the extras again to make it 47-0.
The visitors dominated possession and territory over the next 25 minutes or so and were rewarded with 10 minutes remaining as Tom McCartney barrelled over off the back of a line-out maul. Conor Fitzgerald knocked over the extras to cut ever so slightly into the lead.
However, Leinster came roaring back and from a cross-field kick by replacement Jamison Gibson-Park, Ringrose picked the ball out of the air and charged over the line in the right-hand corner. Harry Byrne converted the score to make it 54-7 and that was the result come the whistle.
The win means Leinster have a perfect 10 from 10 record in the PRO14 so far this season and head into next weekend’s Champions Cup game against Lyon full of confidence with a further four wins from four in Europe too. Meanwhile, it’s a disappointing result for Connacht who will need a much improved result if they are to cause any form of upset when they host Toulouse next weekend.
Jordan Larmour (7), Fergus McFadden (7), Garry Ringrose (8), Joe Tomane (8), Dave Kearney (7), Ciaran Frawley (8), Luke McGrath (9); Peter Dooley (7), Sean Cronin (7), Tadhg Furlong (7), Ross Molony (7), James Ryan (6), Rhys Ruddock (9), Will Connors (7), Max Deegan (9)
Dan McFarland extends stay with Ulster for a further two years
Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, has renewed his commitment to the province by signing a new two-year contract extension.
Since joining the club in August 2018, Ulster has regularly competed at the knock-out stages of both the Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup, including at the most recent Guinness PRO14 final – a first for the province in seven years.
Of his contract renewal, Dan McFarland, said:
“I’m delighted to be signing again with Ulster. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two and a half years working and learning with some really good people, and I’m looking forward to continuing to help drive on our improvement as a group and as individuals.
“As a group, we are extremely ambitious in our aim to be consistently competing for championships. With exciting young talent continuing to emerge out of our Academy system, joining forces with the proven talent within our squad – many of whom have been recently recognised at international level – I look forward to what the weeks and months ahead hold as we take on our next challenges in the domestic league and in Europe this season.”
Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, added:
“I’m extremely pleased to see Dan extend his commitment to Ulster Rugby, giving us the opportunity to continue to build on the fantastic work that he has done in his time here so far.
“It is plain to see, both on and off the field of play, the ethos that he has instilled in the group, and that is being borne out both in our performances and our results – a team of which the people of Ulster can be rightly and fiercely proud.
“I’m looking forward to working with Dan in the coming years, to see where we can take this. It’s an exciting prospect.”
Ulster & Leinster announce teams for huge Inter-Pro Clash
The team sees six changes to the side that defeated Munster at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. Michael Lowry comes in to start at full-back and is joined on the wings by Matt Faddes and last weekend’s Player-of-the-Match, Ethan McIlroy. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and in the half-backs, John Cooney will partner Billy Burns.
Andrew Warwick and Marty Moore are named at loosehead and tighthead prop, with Rob Herring completing the front row at hooker. Alan O’Connor comes in to pair with captain Sam Carter in the second row. Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee make up the starting back row forwards.
John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Nick Timoney will provide forward reinforcements off the bench. David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham will offer back line cover.
Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 11, Friday 8 January at the RDS Arena (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney.
(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.
The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby in the RDS Arena in Round 11 of the Guinness PRO14 has been announced by Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm live on eir Sport and RTÉ Radio).
Johnny Sexton will captain the team as a number of players return from injury for the top of Conference A clash.
Hugo Keenan is selected at full back with Jordan Larmour back after a shoulder injury to start on the right wing and Dave Kearney selected on the left.
Robbie Henshaw starts in the inside centre jersey with Ross Byrne starting outside him in the number 13 jersey for the first time in his Leinster senior career.
In the half-backs, Jamison Gibson-Park is joined by captain Johnny Sexton.
Cian Healy starts at loosehead prop with Andrew Porter at tighthead, while Seán Cronin makes his first start of the season at hooker after recovering from a thumb injury.
Former Australian international Scott Fardy is joined by James Ryan in the second row while, in the back row, fit-again Rhys Ruddock starts with Josh van der Flier at openside and Caelan Doris at number eight.
On the bench, Harry Byrne returns from a back injury picked up in the warm-up before the Northampton Saints game.
Team News from Ulster Rugby & Leinster Rugby
Ulster to welcome 1,000 fans for Scarlets clash
Ulster Rugby last night announced that 1,000 supporters will be welcomed to the Kingspan Stadium this weekend. Statement from Ulster Rugby below:
The Ulster Men have played behind closed doors since the opening game of the season against Benetton Rugby when the club successfully trialled the safe return of spectators following extensive consultation with the IRFU, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Executive.
All 500 pairs of tickets will be made available to #TogetherUlster Members only via an online ballot process. Members who applied for tickets to the Benetton match but missed out due to limited availability will receive priority in the ballot.
Sunday night’s match will feature a mix of seating and terracing in operation across all four stands and the East Terrace. Tickets are again priced at £20 each, allocated in groups of two with two-metre physical distancing factored in.
The online ballot will be open for 24 hours from 1pm on Tuesday 17 November on the Ulster Rugby Ticket Account Manager, and account holders can apply for one pair of tickets per every Adult #TogetherUlster Membership held. All successful applicants will be notified on Wednesday evening once the ballot has closed and tickets have been allocated. Members will then have until 1pm on Thursday 19 November to confirm their ticket purchase and process payment.