Saturday 28 January 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Billy Stickland/INPHO Tonight's game was Sexton's first match since he picked up an injury in the Pro12 final last season.
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Sexton stars as superb Leinster crush Ospreys with bonus-point victory at the RDS
The Welsh side entered the game with a maximum 15 points from their first three league games, but can have no complaints with tonight’s result.

Leinster 31

Ospreys 19

JOHNNY SEXTON RETURNED from injury in style as he helped Leinster to a bonus-point victory over Ospreys, thanks to a dominant first-half performance at a wind-swept RDS.

A penalty-try sandwiched between Josh van der Flier and Sexton crossing the line, helped the home side to a 24-0 half-time lead, with the flanker snatching another early in the second period to secure the winning bonus-point.

As substitutions disrupted the second-half, the visitors responded with three tries of their own from Ben John, Dafydd Howells and James King to put some respectability on the scoreboard.

Tyler Ardron and Jamie Heaslip James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Van der Flier claimed the first try of the match in the 19th minute, following yet another line-out drive from the home side, after Sexton had given Leinster an early lead with a penalty.

The home side’s pressure and territory really began to tell midway through the first period, and Leo Cullen’s men were awarded a penalty try in the 33rd minute, after opting for a scrum instead of kicking for the posts.

The Osprey’s pack collapsed as Leinster headed towards the try-line and Sexton tapped over to give the home side a 17-o lead.

The eastern province were not yet finshied, and Sexton expertly crossed the line after a counter-attack from the visitors broke down to give Leinster an insurmountable 24-point lead at the interval.

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A second try of the game from van der Flier and Leinster’s fourth of the game, shortly after the break, wrapped up the victory and the bonus point, after some poor defending from the Welsh side, with Sexton again clinical from the boot.

Tyler Ardron and Devin Toner James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Steve Tandy’s team, which included Wales internationals Dan Biggar and Alun Wyn Jones, rallied in the second-half with three unanswered tries from John, Howells and then King, as Sexton was finished the game in the bin for being deliberately offside.

But, the scoreline somewhat masks the early dominance of a Leinster who showed any early clinical edge.

Leinster scorers:

Tries: Josh van der Flier x2, Penalty, Sexton

Conversions: Johnny Sexton x4

Penalties: Johnny Sexton x1

Ospreys scorers:

Tries: Ben John, Dafydd Howells, James King

Conversions: Dan Biggar x2


LEINSTER: Zane Kirchner, Isa Nacewa (capt), Garry Ringrose, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney, Johnny Sexton (Dan Leavy ’80), Luke McGrath (Jamison Gibson-Park 61′); Cian Healy (Jack McGrath 50′), Sean Cronin (James Tracy 55′), Tadhg Furlong (Mike Ross 65′), Devin Toner, Mick Kearney (Ross Molony 55′), Jordi Murphy (Rhys Ruddock 50′), Josh van der Flier (Joey Carbery 72′), Jamie Heaslip.

OSPREYS: Sam Davies; Jeff Hassler (Dafydd Howells), Ashley Beck (Dan Evans 65′), Josh Matavesi, Ben John; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb (Tom Habberfield 61′); Paul James (Nicky Smith 47′), Scott Baldwin (Sam Parry 47′), Dmitri Arhip (Ma’afu Fia 65′), Lloyd Ashley (Bradley Davies 50′), Alun Wyn Jones (capt), James King, Justin Tipuric, Tyler Ardron (Dan Baker 47′).

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