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Leinster demolish Montpellier to break points record set in 2003

By PA
Montpellier's Gela Aprasidze reacts after Leinster's James Lowe score (Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images)

Leinster cruised past an under-strength Montpellier to resume their Heineken Champions Cup campaign with a thumping 89-7 bonus-point win at the RDS Arena.

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Despite some obvious rustiness, Leinster pocketed their bonus point by the 23rd minute and led 40-7 at half-time, with Masivesi Dakuwaqa mustering Montpellier’s only response.

Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Ross Molony, Michael Ala’alatoa and Jordan Larmour all touched down in the opening 40 minutes, with the province’s first five conversions fired over by fly-half Byrne.

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Byrne finished the match with 19 points and Jonathan Sexton kicked 10 as Leinster took their try haul to 13.

Heineken star-of-the-match Josh Van Der Flier (2), Jimmy O’Brien, Dan Sheehan (2), Conan and James Lowe shared out the second-half scores.

A wilting Montpellier played the final 13 minutes without Fijian flanker Dakuwaqa, who was sent off for a swinging arm tackle.

Disruption caused by Covid-19 meant this was Leinster’s first game in over a month and they quickly got down to business.

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Conan was in acres of space for the third-minute opener before O’Brien’s pass was batted backwards by Henry Thomas, allowing Gibson-Park to pick up an opportunist second try.

Montpellier’s teenage number 10 Louis Foursans then had a kick charged down by Ronan Kelleher, Byrne following up for a simple finish under the posts.

The only real concern for Leo Cullen’s men was on the injury front, as James Ryan pulled out beforehand with a minor muscle issue and Tadhg Furlong went off early on.

Second row Molony stretched over to make it 28-0, but Montpellier’s attack sparked into life from the restart.

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Boyne RFC product Karl Martin made the initial break and, with a knock-on ruled out, Dakuwaqa’s lunging 27th-minute effort from a ruck stood.

Marco Tauleigne was denied a second Montpellier try due to Guilhem Guirado’s foot in touch, before a terrific pass from Gibson-Park played in prop Ala’alatoa for Leinster’s fifth.

Livewire winger Larmour deservedly got on the scoresheet after 38 minutes, reaching over after a classy run by Caelan Doris.

Just three minutes after the interval, Van Der Flier scored from a fine Conan offload and Byrne converted for a 40-point margin.

Kildare man O’Brien soon accelerated through for a superb solo score from 40 metres out, with Byrne again converting.

The newly-introduced Sexton added the extras to Van Der Flier’s second try, as the flanker gobbled up Vincent Giudicelli’s long lineout throw and sped clean through from Montpellier’s 10-metre line.

Into the final quarter, replacement hooker Sheehan galloped over from Lowe’s return offload for Sexton to convert.

Dakuwaqa was then dismissed for a loose challenge that made contact with Van Der Flier’s head.

Sheehan completed his brace from a lineout maul, and Leinster eclipsed their biggest European winning margin from 2003 – A 92-17 victory over Bourgoin – thanks to closing tries from Conan and Lowe.

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