A brace of tries from front-rowers Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher along with a scores from Ross Byrne and James Lowe saw the reigning champions ease to victory over their western rivals.
The hosts got off to the perfect start, taking the lead four minutes in as returning Irish international Jack Carty knocked over a penalty to make it 3-0.
However, their lead was short lived as one of Leinster’s returning stars Porter barrelled over from close range to put the boys in blue ahead. Byrne made no mistake adding the extras to make it 7-3.
Just before the quarter-hour mark and the away side were further ahead as they camped in the Connacht 22 before hooker Kelleher finished off some great work from a line-out. Byrne slotted over the conversion to push Leinster 14-3 ahead.
Connacht cut into the lead straight after the restart through the boot of Darragh Leader who kicked their second penalty of the game.
Although their fight-back was shut down right away by Leinster, who again showed their forward power as Kelleher went over with the help of captain Scott Fardy for his second try of the night off another line-out. Byrne made it three from three from the tee to extend the lead once again.
It took only another ten minutes for Leinster to secure the bonus-point as Porter went over for his second try of the game after a TMO check. Byrne knocked over another two-points to give Leinster a 28-6 advantage at the half-hour mark.
On 34 minutes things got even better for the eastern province as Byrne added to his personal tally with a lovely five-pointer of his own, slicing through the defence with a fake-pass before touching down. He converted his own try to stretch the score out to 35-6, which is how it stayed come the half-time whistle.
Both teams came out of the blocks quickly in the second period but it was Connacht who struck first as Carty sent a cross-field kick over to Stephen Fitzgerald on the left-wing and the winger did the rest, racing over for his side’s first try of the game. Carty couldn’t add the extras but it showed great spirit from the hosts.
Leinster put pressure on Connacht over the next 20 minutes, remaining in the opposition 22 for most of it, but they couldn’t find a way over. However, that changed with little over 10 minutes remaining as Lowe intercepted a pass inside his own half and darted to the try-line for his side’s sixth try. Bryne continued his 100% kicking-rate from the tee adding the simple extras in front of the posts.
Connacht tried to get another consolation try but they couldn’t break through a solid Leinster defence as it finished up 42-11.
The win means Leinster remain top of Conference A with 29-points out of a possible 30 at the start of the season, while the loss will be a big disappointment for the hosts who went into the game in good form. Leinster will host Benetton next Saturday in the opening round of this season’s Champions Cup, while Connacht welcome French Top 14 side Montpellier to the Sportsground on the Sunday.
Leinster Player Ratings
Hugo Keenan (7), Adam Byrne (7), Jimmy O’Brien (8), Joe Tomane (7), James Lowe (8), Ross Byrne (9), Luke McGrath (7); Cian Healy (8), Ronan Kelleher (9), Andrew Porter (9), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (7), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (8), Max Deegan (8)
Scotland Ace Signs Contract Extension
One of Scotland’s key men has decided to put pen to paper on a new deal with his current club
The 27-year-old is included in Scotland’s Six Nations squad and has 22-caps to his name at the moment. Meanwhile at club-level Toolis has made over 100 appearances for Edinburgh since his debut in 2013.
Speaking on the new deal Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill admitted he is delighted to have the Brisbane-born lock on board for the foreseeable future.
“Ben is one of the most athletic locks in the league, while his ability and leadership at the lineout is key to the way we play. We are delighted to see him re-sign, and I’ve got no doubt that he will continue to be a big player for this club in the years to come,” he said to the club’s website.
The length of the deal have not been announced, but it is a boost for both club and country as his stock continues to rise.
Toolis will be hoping that he can continue his partnership with Grant Gilchrist in the upcoming Six Nations with the squad currently preparing to face Ireland in their opening game on February 1st.
Former Welsh Ace to Hang Up Boots
One of Wales’ former stars has confirmed that he will retire from rugby come the end of the current season
Former Wales back James Hook has announced that he will be calling time on his professional rugby career come the end of the current season.
Hook is contracted to the Ospreys, but with his deal set to end at the end of the campaign he has decided the time has come to pull the curtain on a professional career spanning 16 years.
“It’s sad but something I’m really looking forward to. It comes to everyone at some point and now it’s time for me. I’ve had lots of highlights, winning Grand Slam titles and Six Nations and going on the Lions tour in 2009. Then signing my first professional contract was a big moment for me. Growing up I always aspired to be a professional rugby player. You never think it’ll actually happen so when it did it really was amazing,” he said in a post on social media.
The 34-year old picked up a total of 81-caps for Wales to go along with his 148 appearances for the Ospreys.
Hook has admitted he hopes to continue his rugby journey off the pitch, but that he is also looking forward to having more time to spend with his family after such a long time on the playing field.
“I want to stay involved in the game, particularly working on the skills, like I do now with the young kickers and the age-grade sides, and I’m hoping to finish my level three coaching qualification. It’ll be nice to spend time with my family, my three young boys and my wife. It’s going to be sad not playing at the end of the season, but you’ve got to be positive and look on the bright side and I’m looking forward to what’s next,” he added.
As well as his rugby career Hook has also written a series of children’s books that are set to be released later this year and that could provide him with something else to venture into if they are successful.
However, for now he will be hoping that he can help the Ospreys turn around their disastrous season to date before he hangs his boots up for good.
Connacht Set to Lose Big Star
Connacht look set to without one of their key men next season according to reports as he appears set for a move
They are reporting that the former Rebels man is the Top 14 side’s preferred replacement for the departing Liam Gill, who will leave at the end of this season.
Connacht were keen to keep their players’ player of the year from last season and had entered contract talks to extend his deal past the original two years, but with talks stalling Lyon have come in with a reported offer of 300,000 euro a season which would be hard to refuse.
The 28-year-old would be a huge loss to the western province having been such a massive influence since his arrival in 2018.
However, more positive news for fans is that the back-rower is set to return from a knee injury this weekend against Toulouse, to help Connacht during a period where injuries have severely hampered them.
It is understood that Connacht would like to replace Fainga’a with another overseas star, but for now they will hope to get the most out of the Aussie between now and the end of the season.
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