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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 20 February, 2020
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Another gorgeous day for some Champions Cup action.

Leinster are looking to secure the number one seeding for the quarter-finals with a victory in Italy today, as they take on Benetton.

Leo Cullen’s side go into this tie bolstered by the return of Ireland international James Ryan, who was sidelined with a calf injury.

We’ll have team line-ups for you in the next few minutes as we edge closer to the 1pm kick-off at Stadio di Monigo.

Here’s how the Leinster team are named to line out 

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Dave Kearney
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Ross Byrne
9. Luke McGrath (captain)

1. Cian Healy
2. Sean Cronin
3. Andrew Porter
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. Max Deegan
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Caelan Doris

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Peter Dooley
18. Tadhg Furlong
19. Ross Molony
20. Rhys Ruddock
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Ciarán Frawley
23. Rob Kearney

And here is how the hosts Bentton will be lining out

15. Jayden Hayward
14. Angelo Esposito
13. Luca Morisi
12. Marco Zanon
11. Monty Ioane
10. Ian Keatley
9. Tito Tebaldi

1. Federico Zani
2. Hame Faiva
3. Simone Ferrari
4. Alessandro Zanni
5. Eli Snyman
6. Marco Barbini (captain)
7. Braam Steyn
8. Toa Halafihi

Replacements:

16. Tomas Baravalle
17. Nicola Quaglio
18. Cherif Traore
19. Ira Herbst
20. Giovanni Pettinelli
21. Marco Lazzaroni
22. Antonio Rizzi
23. Tommaso Benvenuti

Ready for kick-off

rob-kearney-and-peter-dooley-arrive-ahead-of-the-game Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

josh-van-der-flier-arrives-ahead-of-the-game Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

andrew-porter-arrives-ahead-of-the-game Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

Ahead of kick-off, have a look at Garry Doyle’s match preview on The42 
here.

Just 10 minutes to go now, how do you see this one going?


Poll Results:

Leinster win (390)
Benetton win (31)
Draw (8)



The sides are heading out onto the pitch now! Almost ready to go.

2Mins

Bentton 0-0 Leinster

So we’re underway with this Round 6 tie where the hosts don’t have much to play for while Leinster are looking for that top seed.

And Benetton get a penalty early on after Ryan fouled in the breakdown

2Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Benetton go to the corner and set themselves up for the maul. They need a good start as they converge on the try-line through the phases.

4Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Leinster commit another infringement on the breakdown, and it looks like Max Deegan who was at fault.

And the Italian side are heading back to the corner.

6Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Leinster manage to push Benetton back out the pitch, but they have a scrum to put in for now near the middle of the pitch after an accidental knock-on from Ryan.

9Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Brilliant line-break from Toa Halafihi to help his side inside the Leinster ’22. The Irish province are under plenty of pressure in the opening 10 minutes.

The move ends with a Benetton knock-on and Luke McGrath puts in for the scrum with Ross Byrne booting the ball clear to give Leinster some relief.

11Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Some clever play from Leinster sees them put Benetton under pressure for the first time in this game.

James Lowe tries a little kick-through to try and send Jordan Larmour in, but Tito Tebaldi is there to clear the danger and do a little show and go to evade any intervention from Larmour, and send the ball into touch. 

13Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Benetton captain Marco Barbini holds up Leinster’s play and earns a turnover for his side. It was Andrew Porter who went into the tackle initially and Barbini held firm to secure a relieving penalty.

Lowe pulls off a lovely bit of skill shortly after as he jumps up to keep the ball in from a kick into touch.

15Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Porter concedes a penalty which is within kicking range at the posts. But they opt to go for the corner instead again.

17Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Leinster are under extreme pressure again as Benetton come within inches of the line. A penalty is finally called against Cian Healy, and the hosts need to get some points here as they head for the corner once more.

19Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

They try a cross-field kick which is collected safely by Dave Kearney. The referee brings the play back though for Leinster going into the air early from the line-out.

Caelan Doris is sent to the bin with a yellow card and Benetton are changing tack by opting for the scrum instead. 

21Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

And after all that, Sean Cronin gets the turnover with some brilliant defensive work to get a crucial penalty for the visitors. 

That’s huge blow for Benetton who were so close to getting a try.

23Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Now it’s Leinster’s turn to advance as they work their way into the Benetton ’22. Cian Healy ships a big tackle but they’re still moving forward.

A scrum is called against Tebaldi for a knock-on, who protests that it the ball was touched by a Leinster hand.

24Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

And the referee reverses his decision after a review of the play and Keatley thumps the ball clear to relieve some of the pressure.

Benetton will be happy with their display in the opening quarter but they need to start profiting from their dominance in possession. 

26Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Brilliant surging run from Deegan. Credit to Kearney as well for winning the ball in the air initially.

But their momentum comes to a halt due to a knock-on. Their passing is a bit sloppy but the pitch is quite wet due to the misty weather so the ball is pretty greasy. 

31Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Tebaldi, who has been playing so well in the opening half, spots Luke McGrath trying to sneak through and holds him sufficiently to win the ball back.

They kick the ball down as far as Larmour, and the ball eventually comes to Byrne who kicks the ball out on the full.

Meanwhile, Doris is back on the pitch for the last 10 minutes of the first half. 

34Mins

Benetton 0-0 Leinster

Cronin throws from the line-out and Leinster crank up the rolling maul.

The ball is recycled out before Healy tries to plunder his way through. It then comes out to Ryan who is held up slightly.

They work the ball through the hands safely and eventually win a penalty.

Flag

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

Byrne opts to go for the posts and it’s a straight forward tap over to get the first points of the afternoon. 

39Mins

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

Ioane fetches a Luke McGrath box kick but the ball comes quickly back into Leinster hands as Ryan tries to spin away from a tackle.

Great work from the Benetton defence to stop Healy from pushing through the line. 

The play is a bit static from both sides, but the conditions have a lot to do with that.

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

Not much to report on that half. Ross Byrne’s penalty is the only score on the board at the half-way point.

Benetton have enjoyed plenty of possession but just haven’t been able to find that last clinical pass to get them over the tryline. 

Some images of the first half 

devin-toner-and-eli-snyman-compete-for-a-line-out Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

toa-halafihi-comes-up-against-josh-van-der-flier Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

robert-barbieri-brings-down-a-line-out-ball Source: Matteo Ciambelli/INPHO

42Mins

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

Blow for Benetton in the early stages of the second half as Ira Herbst heads for the bin for a deliberate disruption of the play.

44Mins

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

Brilliant cross-field kick from Byrne brings Leinster to the Benetton ’22 for a lineout.

48Mins

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

Another Bentton penalty as Porter fumbles possession and is suffocated in possession. They’re still well in the game but they need to start racking up points soon.

They start working through the phases, keeping the passes short and taking the hits. 

52Mins

Benetton 0-3 Leinster

After a reset scrum, Leinster win a penalty. There’s been a few small flare-ups between the players and another kicks off briefly after that decision.

Porter does well to help his side prevail in that scrum.

It looks like Byrne is going to go for the posts.

Flag 53Mins

Benetton 0-6 Leinster

And he drills it straight between the posts to double Leinster’s lead.

Both sides are going to roll on some replacements now. The pitch is very heavy out there and fresh legs are certainly needed. 

59Mins

Benetton 0-6 Leinster

Superb work from Leinster to put Benetton’s Ioane under pressure and push the Italian outfit over the tryline.

That piece of play will get the pulses racing after the pace of the game had dipped since the restart.

The Leinster scrum will follow.

Benetton 0-11 Leinster

Leinster finally get over the tryline as Doris crashes over to complete a brilliant team move.

Kearney and Henshaw both featured well, while Ringrose deserves huge credit for using his vision to release a brilliant no-look pass.

Byrne’s conversion attempt trails wide so the gap remains at 11-0 to the visitors. 

Benetton 0-11 Leinster

Leinster go sniffing for a second try as Lowe tries to get under a long cross-field pass. But Angelo Esposito wins out the aerial battle to prevent the score. 

But Leinster are now in a rolling maul. There could be more scores yet.

Flag 68Mins

Benetton 0-18 Leinster

Substitute James Tracy picks up Leinster’s second try from the back of a rolling maul, as Byrne adds the extras from a conversion that sneaks in off the post.

That number one seed looks to be certain now as we enter the final 10 minutes. 

75Mins

Benetton 0-18 Leinster

They’re more or less out of contention, but Benetton are still fighting to get something on the scoreboard for their efforts.

A Keatley kick sends them to the corner and they’ll set up to go again.

Meanwhile, Luke McGrath has been named man-of-the-match. 

Benetton 0-18 Leinster

Job done!

It wasn’t pretty but Leinster have sealed home advantage for their Champions Cup quarter-final thanks to a brace of second-half tries from Caelan Doris and James Tracy.

Well that’s all from us, folks.

Have a read of our match report before you go and check in with Ciaran Kennedy who will be taking you through the live action between Ulster and Bath here.

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