Leinster went into top spot in Pool One with a 17-10 victory over Bath in Champions Cup Round Three action at Recreation Ground on Saturday.
It was a fairly even match, but the visitors showed a more clinical edge. Bath remain winless in the group but at least take a losing bonus point from the game.
It was a typical champions’ performance from the visitors, who did well to grind out a victory against a Bath side who were very much up for the occasion.
The home side got the scoring underway in the 20th minute. It came after Leinster were put under significant pressure at their own five metre scrum. Sam Underhill harassed Leinster number eight Dan Leavy, forcing the turnover after a brilliant tackle from nuggety scrum-half Will Chudley. The ball was recycled with Henry Thomas crashing over from close range. James Wilson added the extras for a deserved 7-0 lead.
However, the holders hit back in the 28th minute through Sean Cronin at the back of a well-worked driving maul. It all started with Joe Cokanasiga being put under duress from an excellent Leinster kick and chase as the England winger conceded the penalty. From there, it was all about kicking for the corner and setting up the rolling maul and the rest was history.
No further points were scored until the 49th minute when Jordan Larmour dotted down after a bizarre passage of play. Cronin’s throw went awry at the back of the lineout with Bath pouncing on possession only for Wilson’s long pass to be intercepted by Larmour who ran in for the try. That would ultimately be the killer blow.
Ross Byrne then gave Leinster a bit of a cushion with a penalty eight minutes from time. Bath tried as they might and came close but could not add to their solitary try. However, they would manage to come away with a losing bonus point for their efforts courtesy of Wilson’s 81st minute stoppage-time penalty.
For Bath:Try: ThomasCon: WilsonPen: Wilson
For Leinster:Tries: Cronin, LarmourCons: Sexton 2Pen: Byrne
Bath: 15 Ruaridh McConnochie, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Joe Cokanasiga, 10 James Wilson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Ellis, 5 Charlie Ewels (c), 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Nathan CattReplacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Garvey, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Cooper Vuna, 23 Alex Davies
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Noel Reid, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Dan Leavy, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian HealyReplacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rory O’Loughlin
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Vincent Blasco Baqué (France)Television match official: Philippe Bonhoure (France)
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