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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Raw power, precocious youth and more talking points as Leinster take a point in France

The eastern province were made to cling on for long stretches, but travel home with a losing bonus point.

Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

LEINSTER LOST OUT to Montpellier in today’s Champions Cup Pool 4 clash, here’s the full report with some post-match points to ponder below.

Sean Farrell reports from Altrad Stadium

A vital point meants pool 4 is wide open

Today’s result and Castres’ eyebrow-raising 41 – 7 trouncing of Northampton yesterday means all four teams in the pool have a 50% record going in to the December back-to-backs.


Thanks to that late Isa Nacewa try though, Leinster have a one-point edge on Montpellier and Castres while their next opponent, Northampton are bottom of the table on four points.

European pools are decided by fine margins and moments in tough away matches such as this and Leo Cullen’s side should take pride in their ability to pile on late pressure after being on the wrong end of it for the first 75 minutes.

The Nadolo factor

Experienced, solid and unflappable: Rob Kearney was as good an option as any Leinster had to meet the formidable Nemani Nadolo on the Montpellier left wing.

Unfortunately for the eastern province, there are laws of physics involved that just can’t be messed with. So when the massive Fijian took the ball on at pace in the 36th minute you had to feel sympathy for Kearney in the long seconds before he was pounded into the Altrad Stadium mud.

Montpellier’s Nemani Nadolo Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

The former Crusaders star made his presence felt in defence too, stepping out of line to smash Garry Ringrose when the young tyro needed an extra beat to unleash an overlapping Zane Kirchner on the counter attack. And most tellingly, he rocked Dan Leavy back with an almighty hit that made all watching think Leinster would leave the game with nothing.

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Young tyros step up again

Leinster were facing into an out and out humbling after three quarters. However, the pushback came chiefly from the uncapped talent.

Joey Carbery was again entrusted with the wheel for the second half and he proved himself capable of being a safe pair of hands, having made last weekend’s European debut into a showreel.

Leinster’s Garry Ringrose Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

In the centre though, Garry Ringrose had a coming of age, leading the Leinster battle back with his incessant and intelligent carrying that saw him rack up the most attacking metres in his side (only Nadolo and Vincent Martin were above his 51) from 11 carries.

International concerns

Jonathan Sexton’s hamstring was clearly still a niggling problem after travelling to the south of France as he handed the kicking duties to his captain, Isa Nacewa.

From hand, Sexton produced an uncharacteristic kick from hands early on, landing in the middle of the opposition 22 when there was space to be found in the corner.

The out-half most likely won’t play in next weekend’s inter-pros and will be allowed mend his muscles further before Ireland face New Zealand in Chicago.

The Leinster changing room before the match Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Eight months on and 370 miles south of where we last saw Sean O’Brien play, it was heartening to see the Tullow Tank back in the thick of the action.

O’Brien was central to the Leinster resistance in the first quarter and played an important role in his side taking the lead.  However, he too was called ashore at the halfway stage.

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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