Leinster manage the storm to cruise past Cheetahs at the RDS

Leo Cullen’s side made it 17 wins on the bounce for the 2019/20 season.

Leinster’s Ronan Kelleher scores a try as Peter Dooley celebrates.
Leinster’s Ronan Kelleher scores a try as Peter Dooley celebrates.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Leinster 36

Toyota Cheetahs 12

Daire Walsh reports from the RDS

AMIDST TREACHEROUS CONDITIONS at the RDS, Leinster comfortably swept past the challenge of Toyota Cheetahs to strengthen their grip at the summit of the Guinness PRO14 Conference A table.

While Storm Dennis had an adverse impact on the proceedings – the north and south stands were closed owing to healthy and safety precautions – Leo Cullen’s side knuckled down to make it 17 wins on the bounce for the 2019/20 season.

One of five players released from the Ireland squad for this game – Max Deegan, Luke McGrath, Ronan Kelleher and Dave Kearney being the others – Will Connors dotted down just past the first-quarter mark for his first try in a Leinster shirt.

Fly-half Frawley supplemented this deadlock-breaker with a routine conversion and also slotted a penalty after Cheetahs loosehead prop Charles Marais was yellow-carded. The Blues were now settling into a familiar groove and continued to punish an increasingly under siege visitors.

Making his first appearance since a 30 November victory against Glasgow Warriors, Michael Bent rounded off a 35th-minute attack with a powerful finish over the whitewash. Though Cheetahs were restored to their full complement before the half’s end, there was enough time for Kelleher to claim his eighth try in just nine appearances this term.

rob-kearney Rob Kearney battles through the driving rain at the RDS. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

With a 22-0 cushion already at their disposal, Leinster sealed their eighth bonus point of the campaign on the resumption. Rhys Ruddock was the latest player to cross over for the defending champions before Connors’ second try in the 51st-minute further enhanced the gap between the teams.

However, Leinster did come under some sustained pressure from the South Africans as a result of Sean Cronin’s sin-binning on the hour mark.

In the absence of the replacement hooker, the hosts leaked a try to Luan de Bruin with former Ulster scrum-half Ruan Pienaar on hand to add the bonuses.

The resilient Bloemfontein men bagged another five-pointer through Aidon Davis on the stroke of full-time, but Leinster had done enough to extend their lead at the top to 16 points in advance of Ulster’s evening time encounter against Ospreys.


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Tries: Will Connors 2, Michael Bent, Ronan Kelleher, Rhys Ruddock

Conversions: Ciaran Frawley [4 from 5]

Penalties: Ciaran Frawley [1 from 1]

Toyota Cheetahs

Tries: Luan de Bruin, Aidon Davis

Conversions: Ruan Pienaar [1 from 1], Louis Fouche [0 from 1]

LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Jimmy O’Brien, Joe Tomane, Dave Kearney (Ronan Kelleher ’60 (Cian Kelleher ’70)); Ciaran Frawley (Harry Byrne ’65), Luke McGrath (Jamison Gibson-Park ’65); Peter Dooley (Michael Milne ’65), Ronan Kelleher (Sean Cronin ’52), Michael Bent (Roman Salanoa ’65); Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (Ryan Baird ’52), Rhys Ruddock (Scott Penny ’70), Will Connors, Max Deegan.

TOYOTA CHEETAHS: Rhyno Smith; Clayton Blommetjies, William Small-Smith, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, Rabz Maxwane (Boan Venter ’31-‘40); Tian Schoeman (Louis Fouche ’68), Ruan Pienaar (Tian Meyer ’68); Charles Marais (Boan Venter ’47), Joseph Dweba (Wilmar Arnoldi ’47), Aranos Coetzee (Luan de Bruin ’47); Walt Steenkamp, JP du Preez (Aidon Davis ’69); Chris Massyn, Junior Pokomela (Gerhard Olivier ’68), Jasper Wiese.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse.

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