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Ruthless Leinster bully Scarlets into submission

By Ian Cameron

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Leinster booked their place in the Champions Cup Final in Bilbao following a dominant semi-final display against the Scarlets in Dublin.


A clinical performance from the Dublin based side in a sun-drenched Aviva Stadium proved too much for the Scarlets, who didn’t have an answer for the Irish’s province ruthless mix of precision and ultra-physicality.

Scarlets started brightly with a 5th minute penalty for Leigh Halfpenny, but Leinster responded just 5 minute later with a bruising, close quarters try for Leinster secondrow James Ryan.

Ryan appeared to lose his feet before diving over the line from a metre out but referee Romain Poite was satisfied enough with his movement to award the try following a TMO review.

Sexton added the conversion and eight minutes later after a period of pressure, slotted a penalty to open up a 10 – 3 gap.

Leigh Halfpenny struck back for the Scarlets with a penalty in the 21st minute, only for loosehead Cian Healy to muscle his way over – again from close range – in the 25th minute.


Leinster’s domination of both the ruck and gainline had the Welsh region living off scraps and a 33rd minute penalty from Halfpenny was all they had to show for a brief spell of first halfhalf possession

Yet it was but a short reprieve, as Leinster sent winger Fergus McFadden over in the corner as halftime broke. McFadden sacrificed his leg in the process and was replaced by Jordan Lamour as the home side returned to the changing rooms with a 24 – 9 halftime score to their name.

The second half carried on much as the first one had ended, with Leinster firmly in the driving seat.

Tries from Scott Fardy (49th minute) and Jonny Sexton (59th minute) effectively put the game beyond the Scarlets, who looked shell-shocked with a quarter of the match remaining.


Poite disallowed man-of-the-match Fardy a try in the 74th minute for hands in the ruck and a 79th minute Tadhg Beirne consolation try took a little of the gloss off a polished Leinster performance, but ultimately, it was all smiles as a confident Leinster march towards the final in Spain.

Attendance: 48,455


15. Rob Kearney; 14. Fergus McFadden, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. Isa Nacewa; 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Jamison Gibson-Park; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Sean Cronin, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Dan Leavy, 8. Jordi Murphy
16. James Tracy, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Andrew Porter, 19. Ross Molony, 20. Jack Conan, 21. Nick McCarthy, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. Jordan Larmour


15. Rhys Patchell; 14. Leigh Halfpenny, 13. Scott Williams, 12. Hadleigh Parkes, 11. Steff Evans; 10. Dan Jones, 9. Gareth Davies; 1. Rob Evans, 2. Ken Owens, 3. Samson Lee, 4. Tadhg Beirne, 5. David Bulbring, 6. Aaron Shingler, 7. James Davies, 8. John Barclay
16. Ryan Elias, 17. Dylan Evans, 18. Werner Kruger, 19. Lewis Rawlins, 20. Steven Cummins, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Steff Hughes, 23. Will Boyde

Referee: Romain Poite (Fra)
Assistant Referee 1: Mathieu Raynal (Fra)
Assistant Referee 2: Pierre Brousset (Fra)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)
Citing Commissioner: Shaun Gallagher (Eng)


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