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Leinster rally to beat Chiefs, Bath gain revenge over Toulon

Leinster scrum-half Luke McGrath

Leinster came storming back to maintain their 100 per cent European Champions Cup record with a 22-17 win over Exeter Chiefs and Anthony Watson’s double gave Bath victory over Toulon in a classic at The Rec.

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Exeter travelled to the Aviva Stadium smarting from a home defeat to Leinster last weekend and looked set to gain revenge when they led 17-3 late in the first half, Sam Skinner and Luke Cowan-Dickie scoring tries.

Leinster lost Jonathan Sexton to a head injury, while Cian Healy was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card for a forearm on Cowan-Dickie at a ruck. Scott Fardy was also sin-binned as the Premiership champions had much the better of the first half.

Leo Cullen’s Pool 3 leaders hung in there and Isa Nacewa’s fifth penalty reduced the deficit to only two points, before Luke McGrath took a pass from Dan Leavy, which looked suspiciously close to being forward, to dart away for a decisive try 10 minutes from time.

Leinster are five points clear of Montpellier, who moved above Exeter courtesy of a 36-26 victory against Glasgow Warriors at Altrad Stadium.

Glasgow led 19-14 at the break, but Henry Immelmann claimed a second-half brace as Montpellier came out on top in a pulsating clash to keep themselves firmly in the hunt for a place in the last eight and leave the Warriors still without a win.

Toulon left it late to beat Bath last Saturday but Todd Blackadder’s men gained revenge seven days later, going top of Pool 5 with a thrilling 26-21 success.

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Beno Obano crossed in the first minute, while Watson dotted down twice, the second a brilliant solo effort, before the Premiership side soaked up huge pressure in the closing stages to edge it.

Scarlets were forced to charter a flight for a clash with Benetton Treviso due to an air-traffic control strike in Italy and back-to-back triumphs have seen their Champions Cup campaign take off, Gareth Davies scoring two tries in a 31-12 win for the Welsh side which leaves them only a point behind Bath and Toulon.

Racing 92 are second in Pool 4 following a 29-7 bonus-point win over Top 14 rivals Castres, although Juan Imhoff took the gloss off the result when he was shown a red card for a headbutt.

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William 3 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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