The Runner Sports

Leinster Overpower Connacht To Keep Top Spot

In a repeat of last year’s Pro12 Final, Leinster retain their position at the top of the league table after a dominant performance in the RDS on Saturday evening.

Connacht took an early lead from two penalties in the first 15 minutes, Craig Ronaldson’s steady boot guided the ball over the post on both occasions. Unfortunately, Ronaldson was forced to leave the pitch for a head injury assessment shortly after his second kick at goal.

Isa Nacewa kicked a penalty back for Leinster after an infringement in the scrum in the 23rd minute.

Leinster were forced back to 14 men near the half hour mark after Sean O’Brien was sent to the sin bin for leading with his shoulder in an attempted scrum clearout.

The home side kept up their intensity despite playing with 14 men and were rewarded with an equalizing penalty in the 32nd minute.

With three minutes left in the half, Connacht were shown a yellow card of their own after Peter Robb was pulled for a deliberate knock-on.

Leinster were able to take the lead with a minute left in the half through another penalty. Connacht looked to finish the half strong, playing deep into the Leinster half but knocked it on just before the line, a consistent problem for Connacht throughout the game.

Leinster started well in the second half, scoring the game’s first try through Adam Byrne in the 48th minute. An impressive but questionable pass from Jamison Gibson-Park found Byrne on an overlap, easily running in the try.

Nacewa knocked over another penalty ten minutes later after Connacht were pinged for holding on in the ruck.

Connacht seemed to fall apart slowly through the course of the game. The powerful Cian Healy had dominated the less experienced Conor Carey in the scrum throughout the game. The introduction of Finlay Bealham off the bench early in the first half stabilized the Connacht’s scrum somewhat but was still no match for the powerhouse front row of Healy, Sean Cronin, and Mike Ross.

Connacht’s kicking game was also hampered by the early loss of Ronaldson, unable to gain the territory they were in the first half.

With four minutes on the clock, Leinster looked to finish the game off and did so through Barry Daly, scoring a try on his debut match.

Connacht, never a team to lie down, looked to take at least one try away from the game. They managed to do so right as the clock turned red. Shane Delahunt ran a good line off of Caolin Blade to break the Leinster line and score under the posts, closing out the game.