Leinster overcome Montpellier to book place in knock-out stages
They won 57-3 at the RDS22:20 Friday 13 January 2017, 22:20 13 Jan 2017
Leinster overcame Montpellier to qualify for the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup with a dominant 57-3 win at the RDS.
Both teams went at it from the start and Francois Steyn missed an early penalty opportunity to give the visitors the lead.
Isa Nacewa opened the scoring after Leinster broke through Montpellier defensive line. Johnny Sexton threw a huge skip pass which allowed the New Zealander to dot down in the corner. Sexton added the extras to give the home side a 7-0 lead. Steyn replied for the French side with a penalty minutes later.
Jack Conan scored the home side's second try after a beautiful inside pass from Nacewa. Sexton converted to bring the scores out to 14-3.
Then came the pivotal moment of the match. Adam Byrne broke up the park and the ball was eventually recycled to Sexton who received a high late hit from Steyn after he had passed the ball wide.
Leinster's Johnny Sexton injured. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie
JP Doyle reviewed the incident and sent the South African for an early shower. Sexton went off for an assessment and Nacewa slotted the resulting penalty to bring Leinster out to a 17-3 lead.
Leo Cullen's men kept attacking and when Adam Byrne gathered a Luke McGrath box kick he galloped up the field before trading passes with Jack Conan and scored in the corner. Ross Byrne, on for the injured Sexton, added the extras from the touchline and Leinster went into the break with a 24-3 lead.
Leinster continued to attack as the second half got under way but lost Isa Nacewa early on due to injury.
Rob Kearney came on in his place and missed a glorious chance to seal the bonus point only to knock-on with the line at his mercy.
Leinster eventually sealed the bonus point after Jack Conan barrelled over from close range. Sexton converted and brought the scores out to 31-3.
Rather than ease off with the bonus point win in the bag, Leinster turned the screw with Luke McGrath, Cian Healy, Conan (again) and Garry Ringrose crossing the whitewash to bring the final score out to 57-3.
Here's our player ratings for the home side:
Jack McGrath - 7
Carried well around the field. Played his part in the scrum and line-out.
James Tracey - 7
Was a nuisance in broken play and went looking for work throughout. Should probably avoid taking the clearance kicks from now on though.
Tadgh Furlong - 7
Made a few trademark bulldozing runs and gives the Irish side a huge physical presence whenever he plays.
Devin Toner - 7
Commanded his line-out well and worked tirelessly about the park. Made a mess of one attack but it didn't matter in the end
Hayden Triggs - 7
Like his second row partner, he got the "unseen" work done. Has upped his game in recent weeks.
Jack Conan - 9
Scored three tries. Says it all really. Can Cullen drop him on this form?
Leinster's Jack Conan scores his third try of the game despite Kelian Galletier of Montpellier
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie
Josh van der Flier - 7
Quiet enough night by his now lofty standards but kept the Montpellier attack honest and was a pest around the field.
Jamie Heaslip - 7
Turned the ball over early on but worked his socks off for the remainder. Remarkable engine for a man that almost never misses a match.
Luke McGrath - 8
Getting better with each game he plays. His confidence will no doubt be at an all time high after running in a try from the 22 off a line-out.
Leinster's Luke McGrath scores his sides fifth try. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie
Johnny Sexton - 8
Commanded his team around the field like the pro that he is. Recovered from the high tackle to take control of the game before handing the reins over to Ross Byrne.
Rory O'Loughlin - 7
Quiet enough night for the winger as most of the ball seemed to head out to Adam Byrne on the opposite side. Defended solidly when called upon.
Robbie Henshaw - 8
Forming an exciting partnership with Ringrose and was a threat with ball in hand.
Leinster's Robbie Henshaw tackled by Jannie du Plessis, Charles Geli and Paul Willemse of Montpellier
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie
Garry Ringrose - 8
Nice offload early on to Nacewa and looked dangerous every time he got the ball. Has developed a fantastic understanding with his centre partner.
Adam Byrne - 8
Brilliant display from this exciting young talent. Was involved in almost every Leinster attack as the home side laid down a marker in the first half.
Isa Nacewa - 8
Despite only playing 42 minutes of the match, the game was as good as over when he left the field injured early in the second half. Scored one and made one of the earlier tries. Slotted a penalty when Sexton was off the field receiving treatment.
Bench - 8
Those who came on emptied the tank and eventually helped bring the score out to a remarkable 57-3.
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