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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 24 April, 2019
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Good evening and welcome along to The42‘s live coverage of tonight’s huge Champions Cup clash between Leinster and Montpellier from the RDS.

The stakes couldn’t be any higher and the significance of this game cannot be understated for Leinster.

The equation is simple: victory for Leo Cullen’s side would book their place in the quarter-finals of the competition but standing in their way is a mammoth Montpellier outfit.

It has all the ingredients to be a Friday night classic under the lights in Dublin 4.

Kick-off is at 7.45pm and we’ll have all the build-up between now and then.

Despite the freezing temperatures, a sell-out crowd is expected at the RDS for this one with the home supporters hoping what happens on the pitch warms the cockles.

Robbie Henshaw arrives Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A view of the RDS stadium ahead of the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Jonathan Sexton arrives Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A view of EPCR match day balls in the Leinster dressing room Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A view of match day jerseys in the dressing room Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ryan Bailey here to guide you through all the action as it happens and Sean Farrell is in position at the RDS as we bring you minute-by-minute coverage of this Pool 4 encounter.

Which way do you see this one going? If you want to join in the conversation, tweet us: @rugby_ie and @The42_ie, e-mail ryan@the42.ie or post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Before we go any further, let’s take a check on the teams.

Leinster:

15. Isa Nacewa (Captain)
14. Adam Byrne
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Rory O’Loughlin
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Luke McGrath

1. Jack McGrath
2. James Tracy
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Hayden Triggs
6. Jack Conan
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jamie Heaslip

Replacements:

16. Richardt Strauss
17. Cian Healy
18. Michael Bent
19. Ross Molony
20. Dan Leavy
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Ross Byrne
23. Rob Kearney

Montpellier:

15. Joffrey Michel
14. Timoci Nagusa
13. Vincent Martin
12. Joe Tomane
11. Nemani Nadolo
10. François Steyn
9. Nic White

1. Mikheil Nariashvili
2. Shalva Mamukashvili
3. Jannie Du Plessis
4. Paul Willemse
5. Konstantine Mikautadze
6. Fulgence Ouedraogo
7. Akapusi Quera (captain)
8. Pierre Spies

Replacements:

16. Charles Geli
17. Yvan Watremez
18. Davit Kubriashvili
19. Antoine Battut
20. Kelian Galletier
21. Tomás O’Leary
22. Henry Immelman
23. Jesse Mogg

A little over half an hour until kick-off, but to whet the appetite why don’t you browse some of our pre-match offerings:

Leo Cullen Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The teams are out, and there’s a crackling atmosphere inside the RDS. JP Doyle ensures everything is in order and we’re all set…

Flag 1Mins

Kick-off! The visitors get the game underway and Garry Ringrose gathers the kick-off as Leinster pass it through the hands early on.

2Mins

Frenetic start to this game as both teams look to attack from the off. Leinster are looking to move the ball wide quickly and stretch Montpellier but already we’ve seen the threat the visitors pose with Nadolo making a dangerous break.

3Mins

Jack Conan is penalised at the lineout by JP Doyle and Francois Steyn has called for the kicking tee — but his radar is off and the flags stay down. Early reprieve for Leinster.

6Mins

Some big collisions in midfield already but Leinster are so energetic at the breakdown and Luke McGrath is getting quick ball. Sexton looks to go cross-field but Nadolo is under it and calls for the mark.

10Mins

Montpellier win the penalty and launch it deep into Leinster territory. The Top 14 side get the drive on but Leinster stand firm and Triggs does well to break up the maul.

After a couple of phases of possession, we’re going back for a penalty and Montpellier opt for the scrum.

13Mins

Solid scrum from Montpellier and they have numbers out wide but Steyn’s offload for Joe Tomane is forward and then knocked on by the Australian. From the reset, Leinster win the penalty with Sexton having the chance to clear their lines.

15Mins

Leinster inject a bit of pace into their attack and Ringrose finds the space to set Nacewa away. The skipper charges towards the Montpellier 22 but Nic White does brilliantly to get back and stop Nacewa in his tracks.

Flag 16Mins

TRY! Leinster 7-0 Montpellier (Nacewa)

There’s no stopping him this time! From the lineout on this near side, O’Loughlin finds a gap in the Montpellier defence and from there the visitors are stretched. Conan and Henshaw are involved before a looping pass gives Nacewa the simple task of running it into the corner.

18Mins

Nervous moment there for Leinster as Henshaw drops Sexton’s pass and Tracy is forced to dive on it just yards from his own line. The pressure is released, however, with Montpellier pinged for being offside.

20Mins

The home fans aren’t happy. Montpellier look offside again but the decision goes against the hosts and Steyn calls for the tee again. This attempt is far more straightforward, just inside the 10 metre line.

Flag 20Mins

Penalty! Leinster 7-3 Montpellier (Steyn)

He makes no mistake this time and Montpellier are on the board.

Flag 24Mins

TRY! Leinster 12-3 Montpellier (Conan)

Oh my word! Nacewa with a superb piece of individual skill as Conan goes over for Leinster’s second.

After a sustained period of pressure, the captain collects his own chip and brilliantly offloads on this near touchline for Conan to run it home.

25Mins

And Sexton adds the extras again.

The out-half has been so influential in the opening 25 minutes and his flat passing game is causing all sorts of problems for Montpellier as Leinster throw it wide at every opportunity.

26Mins

Here we go again! Adam Byrne surges clear and he has acres of space to run into before offloading for Tracy. Leinster recycle it and go wide left before winning the penalty.

But Sexton is down and looks to be in a bad way as the medics rush on to his attention. The referee is going upstairs to have a look at the tackle from Steyn.

26Mins

Red card! And JP Doyle, after consultation with his TMO and assistant Wayne Barnes, has shown Steyn a red. He was late and high on Sexton and the officials had little choice.

28Mins

Penalty! Leinster 17-3 Montpellier (Nacewa)

Nacewa takes over the kicking duties while Sexton receives attention. A huge moment in the game.

28Mins

And that’s the end of Sexton’s evening as Ross Byrne strips off the tracksuit and takes his place at out-half.

Flag 30Mins

TRY! Leinster 24-3 Montpellier (Byrne)

McGrath with the box-kick and Byrne climbs highest to gather and then exchange passes with Conan to finish it off in the corner. No words will do that score justice. Simply superb from Leinster.

Ross Byrne then nails the conversion from the touchline.

34Mins

We’re just about catching our breath after that passage of play. Leinster are enjoying themselves out there and demonstrating all their skill sets as they tear Montpellier apart.

38Mins

Danger! O’Loughlin shows his defensive work by getting back ahead of Nadolo and composing himself before bringing the ball across his own line. Three minutes until the break.

40Mins

Montpellier enjoying one of their better periods of the half but they lose it and Sexton, who has come back on, boots it into touch as the clock strikes red.

Flag 41Mins

Both teams back on for the second half and Johnny Sexton — who returned towards the end of that first period — gets us underway.

42Mins

Early change for Leinster in this second half as Nacewa makes way for the returning Rob Kearney. The Leinster skipper must have been carrying a knock and failed to shake it off upon the restart.

45Mins

Johnny Sexton Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Johnny Sexton leaves the field for a HIA Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Frans Steyn red carded by referee JP Doyle Source: James Crombie/INPHO

46Mins

Much better from Montpellier as they use their brute force to work their way towards the Leinster line and put the hosts under concerted pressure for the first time.

But superb defensive work from the eastern province forces the turnover and just look what it means to the Leinster players. Sexton comes in and slaps the forwards on the back.

52Mins

Try or not? We’re going upstairs here to see if Rob Kearney managed to get the ball down for Leinster’s bonus point score. He was under pressure from White but looks confident he got it down.

52Mins

No try! The Ireland international clearly fumbles the ball just before the line and we’re going back for a Montpellier scrum.

Flag 55Mins

TRY! Leinster 31-3 Montpellier (Conan)

But it didn’t take long in coming! That’s the bonus point sealed as Conan begins and finishes the move. The flanker gathers the lineout and then is there at the end to power over under the posts. Sexton completes the formalities.

61Mins

Leo Cullen makes a couple of changes. Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy and Michael Bent are all on while Ross Byrne replaces Johnny Sexton.

And Tomas O’Leary is introduced for Montpellier. The former Munster scrum-half is on for Nic White.

62Mins

Adam Byrne scores his sides third try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Fulgence Ouedraogo and Tadhg Furlong Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Henry Immelman and Charles Geli tackle Jack Conan Source: James Crombie/INPHO

62Mins

Stop-start nature to proceedings now as we wait for the scrum to be reset by JP Doyle. The Leinster front-row produce a big push and are eventually awarded the penalty, which Byrne fires deep into Montpellier territory.

Flag 64Mins

TRY! Leinster 38-3 Montpellier (Luke McGrath)

So, so easy for McGrath. From the lineout, the rolling maul makes good yards and McGrath just picks it from the back and runs right through the centre to dash home from 20 yards out.

65Mins

And that was the scrum-half’s last involvement as he makes way for Jamison Gibson-Park. A stroll in the mark now for Leinster.

Flag 68Mins

TRY! Leinster 45-3 Montpellier (Healy)

Cian Healy has been bright since coming on and he gets in on the act to score his eighth European try for the province. It all started with Byrne’s perfectly-executed cross-field kick for O’Loughlin. Healy finishes it off from close range.

69Mins

Leinster have been an absolute joy to watch tonight, although Montpellier have been as abjectly wretched as the hosts have been brilliant. An embarrassing performance from the French side.

Flag 72Mins

TRY! Leinster 50-3 Montpellier (Conan)

And that’s a hat-trick for Conan. Leinster are relentless in attack and defence and Pierre Spies inexplicably tries to chip and chase in his own 22 but it ends up in the hands of Conan, who doesn’t need a second invitation to surge over for his third of the night.

Flag 75Mins

TRY! Leinster 57-3 Montpellier (Ringrose)

Leinster are running riot as Byrne’s silky offload opens the door for Ringrose to duck and dodge his way over.

76Mins

Jack Conan celebrates scoring his sides fourth try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Luke McGrath his sides fifth try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Joseph Tomane and Rory O’Loughlin Source: James Crombie/INPHO

78Mins

Shane Horgan gives the Sky Sports MOTM award to Jack Conan. No surprises there, although Leinster have been superb across the park and it could have gone to any of a number of players.

78Mins

Official attendance here at the RDS tonight is 17,585.

Luke McGrath celebrates his try with Jamie Heaslip Source: James Crombie/INPHO

What a night at the RDS! Leinster get the job done in style as they book their place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals. We’ll have a full match report and reaction on The42 throughout the evening.

It’s over to Connacht and Munster tomorrow. Until then, goodbye!

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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