James Lowe hits milestone as Leinster out-class Gloucester in Champions Cup
James Lowe scored his 50th Leinster try during their dominant 57-0 Heineken Champions Cup win over a second-string Gloucester at the RDS.
Lowe, who hit the half-century on just his 68th appearance, and Ronan Kelleher both bagged braces as Leo Cullen’s men made it back-to-back bonus point pool wins.
Cullen’s men had five tries on the board by half-time, Kelleher and James Ryan’s late scores for a 31-0 lead coming after Gloucester hooker Henry Walker’s sin-binning.
Lowe, Josh van der Flier and Kelleher had contributed the earlier tries, and it was one-way traffic for most of the second half with Luke McGrath, Lowe, Jordan Larmour and Caelan Doris making it a nine-try rout.
George Skivington’s squad rotation – only Lloyd Evans and Alex Hearle were retained as starters from their comeback victory over Bordeaux-Begles – saw him juggle his resources ahead of Gloucester’s Gallagher Premiership trip to Leicester.
Albert Tuisue and Giorgi Kveseladze were both prominent early on for the Cherry and Whites, but the hosts put a scrappy start behind them with a 12th-minute try.
Heineken star-of-the-match Doris stole possession from Ben Meehan before lobbing a pass out for Lowe to dart over in the left corner. Ross Byrne’s conversion attempt hit the post.
A lineout maul, well marshalled by Ross Molony, propelled Van der Flier over for a 12-point lead, and a similar drive saw Kelleher get around the corner for an unconverted 24th-minute effort.
Arthur Clark, who impressed at lineout time, became Gloucester’s third casualty of the first half, yet the visitors were relieved when a Kelleher try was ruled out – McGrath was inside the five-metre line when receiving the throw.
There was no way Leinster would allow the first half to end on that poor note. Walker’s yellow for head contact with Van der Flier led to a series of pick and drives, Ryan duly burrowing over for seven more points.
Kelleher broke off another maul to touch down past the 40-minute mark, and a foot in touch narrowly denied a leaping Lowe on the resumption.
McGrath then sidestepped inside Billy Twelvetrees and Jack Clement for try number six, Gloucester also losing prop Ciaran Knight to the bin.
Doris provided his second assist for Lowe to cross in 54th minute. Leinster had the luxury of sending on Jonathan Sexton and Jamison Gibson-Park for the final quarter.
Lloyd Evans was crowed out for a rare Gloucester opportunity in the left corner, and Dan Sheehan’s excellent one-handed offload sent Larmour over with five minutes to go.
Jake Morris missed out on a consolation try, Sexton’s tackle keeping the visitors scoreless before he converted Doris’ closer from another dominant Leinster maul.
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