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Leinster make light work of Sharks in Dublin

By PA
Jamison Gibson-Park of Leinster evades the tackle of Vincent Tshituka of Cell C Sharks on his way to scoring his side's fifth try during the United Rugby Championship Quarter-Final between Leinster and Cell C Sharks at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster earned a home semi-final in the BKT United Rugby Championship with a businesslike 35-5 win over the Cell C Sharks at the Aviva Stadium.

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Grant Williams’ 10th try of the URC campaign saw the injury-hit Sharks strike early, but Makazole Mapimpi’s yellow card in attempting to stop Caelan Doris’ score was followed by two more converted efforts from Leinster.

Michael Milne and Jordan Larmour both crossed to establish a 21-5 half-time lead, with further seven-pointers from Max Deegan and replacement Jamison Gibson-Park putting the Irish province through to face either Glasgow Warriors or Munster next week.

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Thomas du Toit won the Sharks’ first scrum penalty, getting the decision over Milne, and scrum-half Williams followed up with a brilliant seventh-minute solo try.

The once-capped Springbok broke in between Tadhg Furlong and Ryan Baird before outpacing Dave Kearney for the right corner. Boeta Chamberlain’s conversion went wide.

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An impressive Kearney counter attack put Leinster in position to respond, and Doris was fed from a maul to smash his way over past Mapimpi. The Sharks winger was sin-binned for an awkward head-led tackle.

Harry Byrne converted and also added the extras to Milne’s 20th-minute try, which saw the prop pile over with support from Deegan.

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A Byrne cross-field kick played in Larmour for try number three, and the hosts also stopped a big drive from the Sharks pack, which had Carlu Sadie on for the injured du Toit.

A costly scrum free-kick, coupled with a late Chamberlain penalty miss, left the Sharks frustrated. Their scrum continued to be dominant on the restart, with Ox Nche to the fore.

However, a neat line of passes soon sent the lurking Deegan over from the left touchline, with replacement Jack Conan supplying the assist. Byrne’s right boot made it 28-5.

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Gibson-Park completed the scoring in the 74th minute, going over from a deft Kearney kick through. Fellow replacement Ross Byrne converted.

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The Sharks, who miss out on Champions Cup rugby for next season, had a Rohan Janse van Rensburg try ruled out for James Venter connecting with Andrew Porter’s head at a ruck. The flanker ended the game in the sin bin.

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