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Leinster back to winning ways with routine victory over Sharks

By PA
Charlie Ngatai of Leinster in action against Corne Rahl of Hollywoodbets Sharks during the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Hollywoodbets Sharks at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Max Deegan marked his 100th appearance for Leinster with a try in their 34-13 United Rugby Championship win over the Sharks at a wet RDS Arena.

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Well-taken scores from Jordan Larmour and Deegan steered Leo Cullen’s men into a 12-6 half-time lead. A brace of early penalties from Curwin Bosch put the Sharks on the board.

Bouncing back from last Sunday’s defeat in Glasgow, Leinster secured their bonus point through replacement Rob Russell and Tommy O’Brien, before Russell cancelled out Dylan Richardson’s late consolation try.

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Two soft enough penalties leaked by Leinster saw fly-half Bosch split the posts twice inside the opening 10 minutes. His second strike was from halfway, but came after Larmour had opened the hosts’ try account for the evening.

The winger’s effort originated from a close-in lineout maul, with Lee Barron going close before Cormac Foley whipped the ball wide for Larmour to register an unconverted score.

The fast-breaking Aphelele Fassi showed how threatening the Sharks can be from deep, only for O’Brien and Charlie Ngatai to force turnover ball.

Leinster began the second quarter with their second try, number eight Deegan driving in low to score with Michael Ala’alatoa on the latch. Harry Byrne’s conversion made it a double-scores lead.

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The South Africans were content to see out the first half just six points down, although the loss of flanker Vincent Tshituka to an arm/shoulder injury was a considerable blow.

In a double tackle with Ngatai, Leinster hooker Barron’s shoulder made contact with Kerron van Vuuren’s head, prompting a 42nd-minute sin-binning. However, Bosch blundered when kicking the penalty dead.

From there on, Leinster took control. Ngatai’s turnover penalty teed up Byrne to extend the lead to nine points before Jamie Osborne’s 50:22 kick had them hunting a try.

Foley’s neat pass, combined with Jason Jenkins sucking in defenders, put Russell over to the right of the posts. Byrne tagged on the extras to open up a 22-6 advantage.

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The Irish province bagged their bonus point in the 65th minute, as industrious winger O’Brien swept over on the right via a pinpoint Sam Prendergast cross-field kick. The young replacement was unable to convert.

The Sharks went close through replacement Boeta Chamberlain before Werner Kok was held up past the try-line by Ciaran Frawley.

The visitors’ reserve hooker Richardson broke off a 79th-minute maul to touch down, only for Fassi to knock on following the restart. Ross Molony nudged the loose ball through for Russell to complete his brace.

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