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Leinster show shades of vulnerability in victory over Lyon

Sean Cronin strolls in under the posts

Leinster are within touching distance of a Heineken Champions Cup home quarter-final after running out 42-14 bonus point winners over Lyon at the RDS.


A Dave Kearney brace took his season’s haul to nine tries in nine games, but Lyon were only 21-14 behind at the break, Virgile Bruni’s intercept score cancelling out a Josh van der Flier effort and Hendrik Roodt crossing late on.

The French side, who had Ethan Dumortier and Felix Lambey yellow carded either side of half-time, hung in there until tries from man-of-the-match Max Deegan, Sean Cronin and Andrew Porter sealed another big winning margin for the already-confirmed Pool 1 winners.

It was a historic result for Leinster, who have now won nine Champions Cup pool games in-a-row for the first time ever. They picked up their fourth try-scoring bonus point of the campaign and will target top seeding when visiting Benetton next Saturday.

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It was all Leinster right from the off, the in-form Kearney twice chipping through to create try-scoring opportunities, but Luke McGrath’s grounded effort was ruled out for offside and then James Lowe knocked on from the next chance.

They duly took the lead in the ninth minute, Lowe laying off for fellow winger Kearney to score after Ross Byrne’s clever cross-field kick from a penalty. A second converted score soon followed, a terrific offload from McGrath sending Van der Flier powering over the line.

Nonetheless, Lyon’s busy number eight Bruni gobbled up a loose pass to impressively run in from near halfway in the 21st minute. Jonathan Pelissie’s conversion halved the deficit before Leinster captain Scott Fardy had a try ruled out by TMO Ian Davies for an earlier knock-on.


That third seven-pointer arrived on the half-hour mark, Lowe sending Kearney over again in the right corner. Yet, despite losing centre Dumortier to the bin for repeated team infringements, Lyon quickly capitalised on some loose defending by the hosts.

Their lineout maul was troubling Leinster and after Jean-Marcellin Buttin was denied at close range, South African lock Roodt burrowed over in the 37th minute with Pelissie adding the extras.

The scoreboard was not reflecting Leinster’s dominance of possession and territory, and they endured another disallowed try on the resumption due to Lowe’s forward pass. However, replacement Lambey’s yellow for a deliberate knock-on kept the pressure on Lyon.


Approaching the hour, young number eight Deegan, who continues to enhance his Ireland prospects, scored at the posts after Jordan Larmour had been wrapped up out wide. Fly-half Byrne kept up his 100 per cent record by converting Deegan’s bonus point try and Cronin’s follow-up.

Leinster took advantage of Lyon winger Xavier Mignot’s binning with Cronin speeding over from a maul. Porter, another lively replacement, drove low to take his side’s tally to six tries. Ciaran Frawley’s conversion closed out the scoring.

– Press Assocation


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Shaylen 23 minutes ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 6 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
FEATURE Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink