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Seven-try Leinster bounce back from Ulster defeat against Connacht

By PA
(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Normal service resumed at the RDS as Leinster overcame a fast-starting Connacht to post a 47-19 United Rugby Championship derby win.

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Dan Sheehan’s superb sidestepping try on the stroke of half-time gave Leinster a 19-12 lead. The Westerners led twice through scores from Mack Hansen and Sam Arnold.

Beaten by Ulster last week, Leo Cullen’s men opened their try account through Rhys Ruddock and Garry Ringrose, and Jordan Larmour added the fourth just after the restart.

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Caelan Doris, Ryan Baird and replacement Max Deegan completed Leinster’s seven-try haul – the latter one cancelling out a Conor Oliver effort – with the result a timely boost for the Blues heading into Europe next week.

The hosts, who brought 10 Ireland internationals back into their squad, looked to strike early, yet the sheer pace of Connacht’s attack soon saw them making inroads.

Armed with a penalty advantage, Jack Carty’s cross-field kick was brilliantly fielded by Hansen for an unconverted 13th-minute try.

Leinster’s forwards built some pressure off penalties before flanker Ruddock burrowed over. Harry Byrne converted to make it 7-5.

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After two near misses for Connacht, including no clear grounding of a possible Oran McNulty try, a fluid 28th-minute attack ended with Carty’s slick pass putting Arnold over.

Nonetheless, Ringrose then reached out to score after nice hands from Josh Van Der Flier and Michael Ala’alatoa, with Byrne converting.

Sheehan squeezed in a stunning late try, his ability to sidestep around the in-form Hansen leaving the home crowd in awe.

It was the game’s turning point, a picture-perfect back-line move off a lineout sending Larmour over for a 41st-minute bonus-point try, converted by Byrne.

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Doris, the Autumn Nations Player of the Series, soon got in on the act, driving over from a close-in ruck. Byrne’s extras left Connacht trailing 33-12.

Baird used his long frame to score on the hour mark, before a smashing play off a line-out had Hansen haring through to send Oliver over for seven points beside the posts.

Leinster signed off with a sweeping 74th-minute breakaway, led by Tommy O’Brien, as Deegan crashed over from Nick McCarthy’s nifty offload. Fellow replacement Ross Byrne converted.

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