Two tries from Will Connors and further five-pointers from Michael Bent, Ronan Kelleher and Rhys Ruddock saw Leinster wrap up yet another bonus-point win to extend their lead at the top of Conference A.
The game was hindered by the horrendous conditions with the rain pelting down in the RDS and caused a scrappy opening, with Leinster dominating but unable to take advantage on the scoreboard.
However, the home side eventually got the breakthrough just after the 20 minute mark as Connors powered over from close range as the Cheetahs gave away several penalty advantages. Ciaran Frawley knocked over the conversion to make it 7-0.
Leinster continued to play the better of the two and with the Cheetahs under pressure and conceding several penalties the away side went down to 14-men as Charles Marias was sent to the bin for a no-arms tackle.
Frawley slotted over the resulting penalty to stretch the host’s lead.
With four minutes left in the half Leinster took the most of their man advantage and got their second try of the game as Bent barrelled over the line after a few phases within the opposition 22. Frawley was perfect with the kick again to make it 17-0.
They weren’t done there as they punished the Cheetahs indiscipline by barging over from a line-out maul through Kelleher with the clock in red. Frawley couldn’t convert this time around but it left them 22-0 up come the half-time whistle.
It took the conference toppers only four minutes of the second-half to secure the bonus-point with another close-range score from Ruddock after a brilliant break through the Cheetahs defence by Luke McGrath. Frawley pushed them further ahead with from the kicking tee to make it 29-0.
With just under half an hour remaining Leinster were over for try number five as Connors got in for his second of the match from another line-out maul which he tore away from to dart across the line. Frawley notched over another two-points with the kick.
Over the next ten minutes the Cheetahs camped in the Leinster 22 and won several penalties leading to Leinster’s Sean Cronin being sent to the sin-bin.
The away side failed time and time again to make their territory count, but eventually they scored their try through Luan de Bruin, who dotted down on the line. Ruan Pienaar kicked the extras to get them onto the scoreboard.
Leinster started to dominate once again and as Cronin returned to play the Cheetahs lost a man of their own as Benhard Janse van Rensburg was shown a yellow-card for a reckless challenge.
The Cheetahs managed to get their second try of the game in the final minute, but the conversion was missed leaving the final score at 36-12.
The win makes it 17-wins in a row for the Irish province so far this season across all competitions and extends their lead at the top of Conference A, while the Cheetahs remain in third. Next up for Leinster is a visit to the Ospreys next Friday as they will look to maintain their 100% record, with the Cheetahs heading to Ulster the following day.
Rob Kearney (6), Fergus McFadden (6), Jimmy O’Brien (6), Joe Tomane (7), Dave Kearney (5), Ciaran Frawley (8), Luke McGrath (7); Peter Dooley (7), Ronan Kelleher (8), Michael Bent (8), Ross Molony (7), Scott Fardy (7), Rhys Ruddock (7), Will Connors (9), Max Deegan (8)
Wales name side for Scotland
Wales travel to Murrayfield on a six-day turnaround following their opening round success against Ireland.
Wales have named the same front-five that featured last weekend with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis forming the front-row.
Adam Beard continues to partner captain Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.
Aaron Wainwright comes into the back row to line up alongside Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau. Both Josh Navidi and Josh Macleod are unavailable due to injury, with the latter originally selected to earn his first cap at blindside flanker before being ruled out.
Gareth Davies comes into the starting XV to partner Dan Biggar.
Nick Tompkins and Owen Watkin form a new-look midfield with Liam Williams returning to the side to line-up alongside Louis Rees-Zammit and Leigh Halfpenny.
“We were pleased to kick the tournament off with a victory last weekend and to be heading to Scotland with a win behind us.
“We continue to build and to move forward and it is great to do that from a position of winning.
“It is a quick six-day turnaround this week but we are looking forward to getting back out there.
“We have picked up a couple of injuries but we see it as more of an opportunity for those coming into the side.
“We have to feel extremely disappointed for Josh (Macleod) who we selected to start and to win his first cap only to be ruled out later that day through injury.”
Elliot Dee, Rhodri Jones and Leon Brown provide the front-row cover for Wales with Will Rowlands and James Botham completing the forward contingent. Kieran Hardy, Callum Sheedy and Halaholo provide the back-line cover.
WALES TEAM TO PLAY SCOTLAND (SATURDAY FEBRUARY 13, KO 16.45)
1. Wyn Jones (31 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (78 Caps)
3. Tomas Francis (53 Caps)
4. Adam Beard (22 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (CAPT) (144 Caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (27 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (81 Caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (82 Caps)
9. Gareth Davies (58 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (88 Caps)
11. Liam Williams (67 Caps)
12. Nick Tompkins (9 Caps)
13. Owen Watkin (26 Caps)
14. Louis Rees-Zammit (5 Caps)
15. Leigh Halfpenny (94 Caps)
16. Elliot Dee (33 Caps)
17. Rhodri Jones (18 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (13 Caps)
19. Will Rowlands (6 Caps)
20. James Botham (3 Caps)
21. Kieran Hardy (2 Caps)
22. Callum Sheedy (5 Caps)
23. Uilisi Halaholo (*Uncapped)
Players unavailable for selection:
Dan Lydiate (released), Josh Navidi, Josh Macleod, Tomos Williams, Johnny Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hallam Amos, Josh Adams.
2 Irish Internationals re-sign & new singing announced by Ulster
Irish internationals, Rob Herring and Ian Madigan, will continue to call Ulster home for at least the next two years, with former European Player of the Year, Leone Nakarawa, set to make his presence felt in the province.
Hooker, Rob Herring, who continues to be a familiar presence in the Ireland set-up, has signed an extension that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until at least June 2023. Known as a leader within the squad, Herring, who is within touching distance of his 200th cap for the province, said:
“I’m delighted to sign a new contract with Ulster – there’s a great atmosphere at the club at the moment. We are all pretty close mates here, working hard to make memories and win silverware for the province. That’s definitely something I want to be a part of for as long as I can.”
Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said:
“Rob is an established international in the Ireland team, as well as one of our most-capped Ulster players. An integral part of this team, he is a natural leader both on and off the pitch, and I’m really pleased that Rob has committed his future with us for another two seasons.”
Having already made his presence keenly felt since signing with Ulster last season, Ian Madigan, has put pen-to-paper on a new two-year deal. The fly half, who has delivered some heart-stopping performances – most notably when his 80th minute long range penalty secured Ulster’s place in last season’s Guinness PRO14 Final – will continue to bring a wealth of experience to the squad in the years ahead. On his contract extension, Madigan, said:
“I’m delighted to extend my contract with Ulster – it was an easy decision for me, and my partner Anna, as we have loved our time in Belfast so far. I’ve really enjoyed playing under the current coaching team, as well as working alongside some of the younger players in the squad as they break through into the senior team, which is very exciting for the club. I believe the team are good enough to win trophies in the near future, and that is my number one goal. I also can’t wait to experience a packed-out Kingspan Stadium and get the opportunity to meet the supporters in-person sometime soon.”
McFarland added: “Ian has bags of big-game experience and he has delivered for us on a number of occasions already, with the Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final against Edinburgh and the recent win over Connacht springing to mind. He also massively contributes to our squad off the pitch, passing on his experience to our young half-backs. I’m delighted he has extended his time with us for another two years.”
Completing today’s announcement is a new face set to join the ranks of Ulster in the shape of 6ft 6in Flying Fijian forward, Leone Nakarawa. The 32-year old Olympic gold medal winner was crowned European Player of the Year in 2018 and will make the move to Kingspan Stadium from Glasgow Warriors on a one-year deal. With an ability to play in both the second row and back row, Nakarawa is known for his devastating offloads, as well as being no stranger to the try-line.
Of the new signing, Dan McFarland, said:
“It’s an exciting time for Leone to be making the move to Ulster for the upcoming season as we look to continue to build on our ambitions as a squad. Given his broad skillset and experience, as well as some impressive accolades to his name, I’m confident that he’ll be a valuable addition to the team, and we look forward to welcoming Leone to the province.”
England v Barbarians: CANCELLED
The RFU has today cancelled the Quilter Cup England v Barbarians fixture scheduled for Sunday 25 October.
As part of its ongoing investigation into a breach of the Covid code of conduct that took place on 21 October, the RFU has today discovered there was an earlier undisclosed breach that took place on 20 October when a number of Barbarians players left the hotel bubble without permission and without informing organisers about their whereabouts.
The RFU has concluded that the players leaving their Covid-secure environment on 20 October without then isolating from the rest of the group on their return has resulted in the bubble environment being compromised, with the potential risk of Covid transmission from individuals outside the bubble to everyone in the Barbarians team and management.
The RFU is therefore left with no alternative but to cancel the game.
Bill Sweeney, RFU CEO said: “We are incredibly disappointed to be calling a halt to this fixture, we know how much fans were looking forward to seeing the teams play. However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of the England squad and the other international teams they will go up against this Autumn. There has been a great deal of effort put into Covid codes of conduct and planning for games, including cooperation with Premiership Clubs to release additional players to fulfil the fixture safely, and we are all incredibly frustrated and disappointed that the actions of a number of Barbarians players mean we no longer feel it is safe for the game to go ahead.”
The RFU investigation is ongoing and no details on individuals or numbers of players involved will be confirmed until the investigation is concluded.
STATEMENT FROM RFU ENDS
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