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The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation

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Ireland hooker Dan Sheehan scores 4 tries as Leinster thrash Benetton

By PA
Dan Sheehan of Leinster scores his side's fifth try despite the tackle of Manfredi Albanese of Benetton during the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Benetton at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland hooker Dan Sheehan helped himself to four tries as Leinster had little trouble in beating Benetton 42-10 in the United Rugby Championship at the RDS.

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One of a dozen players returning from the New Zealand tour, Sheehan scored a 28-minute hat-trick to give the hosts a 21-3 half-time lead.

Replacement Manfredi Albanese ended Benetton’s wait for a try, but Leinster ended up running in six tries in total as Josh van der Flier, Sheehan and Luke McGrath added further scores.

Sheehan is the eighth player, and first from Leinster, to score four tries in a URC match. The last one to do so was Marcell Coetzee for Ulster against Zebre in November 2020.

News of Stuart Lancaster’s possible departure to Racing 92 at the end of the season – French reports suggest that a four-year deal for the Leinster senior coach to move to Paris is a done deal – dominated the build-up to this game.

Joaquin Riera’s break signalled a bright start for Benetton, but Leinster seized a sixth-minute lead when forward Sheehan was driven over from a well-executed lineout maul.

Benetton winger Mattia Bellini was sin-binned just before that, for a pull-back on Dave Kearney near the visitors’ line, and Ciaran Frawley converted Sheehan’s try for a 7-0 lead.

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Replacement Henry Time-Stowers lifted the Italians with a turnover penalty, but some aggressive carrying off a lineout preceded Sheehan’s second converted score in the 16th minute.

Benetton fly-half Giacomo da Re replied with a penalty but, despite Samoan Time-Stowers foiling one Leinster maul, the hosts increased their lead when a subsequent drive propelled Sheehan over for his hat-trick.

Leinster moved further ahead within six minutes of the restart when flanker Van der Flier was released for the right corner and replacement Ross Byrne converted.

The home side took a familiar route to the whitewash in the 52nd minute, Sheehan charging over from another maul with Byrne’s boot making it 35-3.

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Recent Italy debutant Albanese sniped over from a ruck in response, before Leinster captain Garry Ringrose had a try disallowed for McGrath being in touch.

However, the Leinster scrum-half did manage to have the final say in the 71st minute, using the maul platform to finish smartly with Byrne converting again.

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RUGBYPASS+ The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation
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