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Where Warren Gatland's Wales are poised to do the most damage

The best single unit in the Wales side is the formidable back row.

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James Ryan injured as Leinster battle past wasteful Connacht

By PA
GettyImages-1243967341

Ciaran Frawley’s 76th-minute penalty ensured Leinster beat a wasteful Connacht 10-0 at the Sportsground.

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The wet and windy conditions made for a scrappy first half, scrum-half Cormac Foley scoring off an early lineout to give Leinster a seven-point advantage.

Connacht were left to rue their missed opportunities as a break from Player of the Match Josh van der Flier set up replacement Frawley to kick the visitors to their fifth victory of the new season.

Leinster cracked open the home defence inside the first three minutes, Van der Flier breaking off a maul and feeding Foley for a simple finish. Ross Byrne expertly converted from out wide.

Two Niall Murray lineout steals lifted Connacht, as well as his charge-down on Foley, but a subsequent knock-on spoiled their first visit to Leinster 22.

Connacht’s improved maul defence kept the deficit at seven points at the start of the second quarter, before they hurried Leinster into more errors.

The Westerners’ own lineout drive was halted short, and the radar was off when Colm Reilly’s looping pass to Mack Hansen went into touch.

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As the rain came down, the slippery ball was Connacht’s undoing when they failed to capitalise on a scrum penalty. Byrne then pulled a 40-metre penalty wide.

A late Connacht onslaught, on the back of a scrum penalty conceded by Tadhg Furlong, went unrewarded, with Paul Boyle held up before half-time.

Number eight Boyle was prominent on the restart and, while Leinster continued to have lineout issues, Connacht were wasteful again from a gilt-edged maul opportunity.

Although Byrne missed a 54th-minute penalty attempt, Connacht’s execution let them down when their maul was grounded and then a lineout to the tail was knocked on.

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As good as Conor Oliver’s work at the breakdown was, it was sandwiched by two poor Connacht kicks that went straight into touch. It was Leinster who went up a gear during the closing stages.

Dan Sheehan and Van der Flier both made breaks, the latter being brought down by John Porch. Murray infringed, received a yellow card and had to watch Frawley seal Connacht’s fate.

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