United Rugby Championship: Leinster hammer Connacht to remain unbeaten

United Rugby Championship: Leinster hammer Connacht to remain unbeaten

Liam Turner scored his first Leinster try in the early stages
Leinster (19) 41
Tries: Turner, Deeny, Larmour 2, Russell, Baird, van der Flier Con: Sexton 2, Byrne
Connacht (12) 12
Tries: Hawkshaw, Farrell Con: Carty

United Rugby Championship leaders Leinster began 2023 with a comprehensive seven-try 41-12 victory against Irish rivals Connacht.

Liam Turner, Brian Deeny and Jordan Larmour scored first-half tries as Leinster led 19-12 at the break, while David Hawkshaw and Tom Farrell hit back for Connacht.

Larmour scored his second try after the break to secure Leinster’s bonus point.

Rob Russell, Ryan Baird and Josh van der Flier completed the rout late on.

Leinster, unbeaten in their last 10 URC matches, got the New Year off to the perfect start when Turner raced on to captain Johnny Sexton’s pass to score his first try in blue in the second minute.

Connacht, who narrowly lost to Ulster in their final game of the year, hit back when former Leinster centre David Hawkshaw burst through a number of tackles to touch down, and Jack Carty’s conversion put the visitors into the lead.

Deeny nipped in at the base of the ruck to put the hosts back into the lead, and Leinster surged further clear when Larmour, after some fast footwork in his own half, was on the receiving end of some hard-earned luck when a loose ball fell kindly and he darted over for the third try.

However, Farrell crossed with three minutes to go in the half to restore Connacht’s hope and put one try between the sides at the interval.

The bonus-point was secured four minutes after the restart when Larmour squirmed over in the corner, and the victory was put beyond doubt when winger Russell crossed unchallenged as Connacht’s challenge wilted with 15 minutes to play.

Baird and van der Flier added some gloss to the scoreline as Leinster turned on the style in their seven-try win.

Leinster: O’Brien; Larmour, Turner, Ngatai, Russell; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Milne, Kelleher, Ala’alatoa; Deeny, Ryan; Baird, van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: McKee, Porter, Abdaladze, Soroka, Penny, Foley, H. Byrne, Osborne.

Connacht: O’Hallroan; Kilgallen, Farrell, Hawkshaw, Porch; Carty (capt), Blade; Dooley, Heffernan, Robertson-McCoy; D Murray, N Murray; Prendergast; Hurley-Langton, Butler.

Replacements: Delahunt, Buckley, Illo, Dowling, Oliver, Marmion, Daly, Ralston.

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