|21 January 2023
|European Champions Cup
Leinster secured a home tie in the Champions Cup with a BP 36-10 win over Racing 92.
Unbeaten all season, a brilliant second half comeback from Leo Cullen's men earned them a top seed ranking, simultaneously eliminating Racing 92 from the competition.
The first score came in the fifteenth minute. Gary Ringrose, in a man-of-the-match display, prized open the visiting defence and produced a silky offload for Jimmy O'Brien to finish the move. Ross Byrne converted for a 7-0 lead.
However, Racing were growing into the contest and when Jordan Larmour was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, the French side capitalised. Hooker Janick Tarrit smartly picking and going from an attacking maul, Finn Russell wide with the conversion attempt.
Into the second half and Leinster survived falling behind when Russell fell short with a long-range penalty. It was only a temporary relief though. Moments later, the Scottish fly half crafted Racing's second score with a sumptuous line break and pass for Christian Wade to go over. Leinster 10-7 down and facing a fight to retain their unbeaten run.
And how they responded.
First, Hugo Keenan barged over in the corner after a fine play from substitute Dan Sheehan brought them close. Ringrose then knocked on with the try line at his mercy but Josh van der Flier made the pressure tell, burrowing over from a maul, his fifth HCC try of this campaign already.
Despite Byrne missing both conversions, the hosts were now in full flow, Keenan bagging a brace for the bonus point and a 24-10 advantage.
O'Brien then joined him with two tries, again assisted by Ringrose who hacked on, chased his own kick and marvelously popped the pass up for O'Brien to finish aptly.
The Aviva crowd were now getting their money's worth and fittingly, Ringrose rounded the scoring off. With the clock in red, Jack Conan carried, Byrne spun the ball wide and the captain sauntered over the line.
Harry Byrne's excellent conversion put the cherry on Leinster's emphatic cake as it finished 36-10 and Racing 92, despite a brave display, were simply overpowered by this winning machine.
|Royal Dublin Society
|Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, D04 W9H6, Ireland