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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 25 April, 2019
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Leinster turn on the style with seven-try show as Castres collapse

Matt O’Connor’s side attacked with real intent from the start at the RDS.

Leinster 50

Castres 8

AS THEY NEAR the finish line in Pool 2, there was a hint of the old Leinster swagger returning as they earned a bonus point with a seven-try performance against Castres at the RDS.

Martin Moore (hidden) scores a try Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

From the opening bell, the home side looked determined to shake off the perception that they have become a one-dimensional team. A brilliant marker was laid down with a powerful scrum and Eoin Reddan unleashed the backline to attack from right to left.

The move was quelled by a Castres penalty after Dave Kearney cut inside. However, the resulting penalty allowed them to show off another razor-sharp planned move off the set-piece, a line-out swept out from Jimmy Gopperth to Ian Madigan before the utility back reversed the pass to Dave Kearney charging through all the way to the whitewash.

All pre-match talk of focusing on the win rather than a winning bonus point was soon put to one side as Jamie Heaslip began overlooking kickable penalties in favour of kicking to touch.

Castres managed to repel the first two mauls, but and as temperatures dropped in the RDS, Leinster’s problem was a sense that they were literally taking their eye off the ball as knock-ons and errors mounted.

Pressure

In Europe though, Castres are not the kind of side who ruthlessly punish such errors and once they lost Ibrahim Diarra to the sin-bin for a cynical smack of the ball behind a ruck, the floodgates opened.

The third penalty kicked to touch finally turned pressure in to points with Moore the man grounding after a powerful maul on Leinster’s left corner.

A bizarre decision between referee and TMO at the other end denied Marcel Garvey a try by way of a response from Castres, but it was left to be just a footnote five minutes later when Reddan showed neat footwork to step outside a tackle and shove the ball onto the line.

Despite a first quarter that threatened to crank up the frustration levels, the home side got the job done before half-time. The bonus point try secured by Sean Cronin, spotting a gap on the 22 and turning on the gas like no other front row can to race past the covering tackle and over the try-line to give Leinster fans a healthy dose of the good times they used to have round here.

General view during the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Madigan converted and the blues turned to the tunnel as one with the scoreboard shining 31 – 3 above them.

As can so often be the case, momentum is difficult to reignite in second halves, but after Rob Kearney intercepted a cross-kick and shot off in search of a try – only to be caught by Garvey – their tails were up again.

With only a points differential of 23 separating Matt O’Connor’s men from top spot in the pool at the start of play, every score was crucial. Two of the all new front row combined for the game’s fifth try on 53 minutes, Richardt Strauss punching holes inside the 22 before sending Tadgh Furlong in alongside the posts.

There was a more emphatic introduction of a super sub to come though. Darragh Fanning no sooner than his name was called by the PA speakers, broke on to a Luke McGrath pass and on a Sean Cronin-esque line across the posts to score the sixth and McGrath himself would snipe over for a score before the close.

Castres got one back through Romain Martial to put a slight dent in the points haul. But all in all, Leinster’s fifth outing in the Champions Cup was an impressive and clinical one and they have set the pace for Harlequins to follow.

Scorers

Leinster

Tries: D Kearney, Moore, Reddan, Cronin, Furlong, Fanning, McGrath.

Conversions: Madigan (6)

Penalties: Madigan

Castres

Tries: Martial.

Penalties: Kockott

Leinster

15. Rob Kearney (Darragh Fanning ’68)

14. Fergus McFadden

13. Luke Fitzgerald

12. Ian Madigan

11. Dave Kearney

10. Jimmy Gopperth (Gordon D’Arcy ’63)

9. Eoin Reddan (Luke McGrath ’68)

1. Michael Bent  (Jamie Hagan ’51)

2. Sean Cronin (Richardt Strauss ’51)

3. Marty Moore (Tadgh Furlong ’51)

4. Devin Toner

5. Mike McCarthy (Kane Douglas ’63)

6. Jack Conan

7. Jordi Murphy

8. Jamie Heaslip (Dominic Ryan ’51)

Castres

15. Julien Dumora

14. Romain Martial

13. Thomas Combezou

12. Romain Cabannes (captain)

11. Marcel Garvey

10. Daniel Kirkpatrick

9. Rory Kockott

1. Saimone Taumoepeau

2. Marc-Antoine Rallier

3. Ramiro Herrera

4. Richie Gray

5. Christophe Samson

6. Ibrahim Diarra,

7. Jannie Bornman,

8. Johnnie Beattie.

Replacements: Mathieu Bonello, Paea Faanunu, Benjamin Desroche, Yohan Montes, Piula Faasalele, Remi Tales, Remi Grosso, Antoine Dupont.

Referee: Marius Mitrea

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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