|10 December 2022
|European Champions Cup
Leinster began their Heineken Champions Cup campaign in spectacular style today as they dismantled Racing 92, 42-10, in an emphatic bonus point win.
The visitors started as they meant to go on, winning a flurry of early penalties. Before five minutes had elapsed, prop Andrew Porter had touched down off Leinster’s unstoppable maul drive. Ross Byrne converted Porter’s second try this week for a 7-0 lead.
Despite Finn Russell slotting a penalty for 7-3, the dominance was largely Leinster’s in a physical first half. After repeated ill-discipline, Racing found themselves a man down as hooker Camille Chat saw yellow.
And how Leinster took advantage.
First, Dan Sheehan had an easy finish in the corner after a fine pass from Jamison Gibson-Park. Then, captain Garry Ringrose touched down under the posts after a sublime exchange of passes with James Lowe. Ringrose, leading by example and a man in fine form. Byrne converted both leaving Leinster in the ascendancy.
After the interval, Racing bared their teeth, but Leinster matched them all the way in defensive work, holding off what was a siege early in the second half.
Again though, the hosts were left lamenting their repeated penalty offences. This time, scrum half, Nolann Le Garrec was sin binned for a deliberate knock on.
Josh Van Der Flier barged over almost immediately to secure the bonus point, Byrne again converting with ease.
As the benches were emptied, replacement prop Ed Byrne also got in on the scoring fun. Christian Wade did pull a try back for Racing with minutes remaining, but their ordeal was still not over.
In the last phase of play, Van Der Flier capitalised on flailing legs to scamper in under the sticks, Harry Byrne’s two conversions leaving an astonishing 32-point gap between the sides.
Although Racing 92 certainly caused their own problems, Leinster were ruthless and, on this evidence, will have renewed confidence of again going deep into this competition.
|Eddy Ben Arous
|Cedate Gomes Sa
|Nolann Le Garrec
|Josh Van Der Flier
|Josh Van Der Flier
|Paris La Defense Arena