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Fourteen-man Leinster too good for Ulster

MATCH REPORT: Leinster produced a stunning response to Cian Healy’s first-half sending-off as captain Garry Ringrose’s classy second-half brace inspired a 38-29 bonus-point win over Ulster at the RDS.


Leo Cullen’s men trailed by 19 points at one stage, with tries from Rob Herring, Kieran Treadwell and Ethan McIlroy punishing Healy’s head-on-head tackle on Tom Stewart in the 20th minute.

However, with Ronan Kelleher reducing the deficit to 10-22 by half-time, the United Rugby Championship leaders somehow cruised to their ninth straight victory thanks to scores from Ringrose (two), Andrew Porter and James Lowe.

It was a huge missed opportunity for the Ulstermen, who had tasted victory here last year.

They lost both James Hume and Nick Timoney to the sin bin, but gained a late bonus point through replacement Sam Carter.

Ross Byrne’s second-minute penalty punished Stuart McCloskey for not rolling away before John Cooney levelled to reward Martin Moore for forcing a scrum penalty.

Knock-ons from Jamison Gibson-Park and Billy Burns summed up a stop-start opening quarter, yet the visitors immediately exploited the loss of Healy.


Stewart’s replacement Herring scored from a line-out drive in the left corner, Cooney nailing the difficult conversion for a 10-3 lead.

After Burns drew a high tackle from Byrne, McCloskey and Moore were stopped short before powerful lock Treadwell widened the margin to 14 points.

Leinster was stung further when Stewart Moore used turnover ball to race clear up the right and release McIlroy to canter to the posts.

Hooker Kelleher piled over from a late maul, with Byrne converting from out wide, and Leinster’s international-laden bench brought plenty of impact.


Ringrose nimbly spun away from Hume for a slick 58th-minute try, converted by Byrne. It was a double blow for Ulster, with Hume sin-binned for head contact.

Increasing his influence, Ringrose soon stepped inside two defenders to move his side ahead at 24-22. Timoney saw yellow for collapsing a maul beforehand.

With more gaps opening up, the influential Porter plunged over from a ruck.

Byrne then scooped a long pass out for Lowe to strike in the 75th minute before Carter made sure Ulster took something home.

The scorers

For Leinster
Tries: Kelleher, Ringrose 2, Porter, Lowe
Cons: Byrne 5
Pens: Byrne

For Ulster
Tries: Herring, Treadwell, Mcilroy, Carter
Cons: Cooney 2, Doak
Pens: Cooney

Red card: Cian Healy (Leinster, 20)
Yellow cards: James Hume (Ulster, 59), Nick Timoney (Ulster, 62)


Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jimmy O’Brien, 13 Garry Ringrose (captain), 12 Jamie Osborne, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 James Ryan, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 2 RĂ³nan Kelleher, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Andrew Porter, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Caelan Doris, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Charlie Tector, 23 Liam Turner.

Ulster: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Ethan McIlroy, 13 James Hume, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Stewart Moore, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nick Timoney, 7 Marcus Rea, 6 Iain Henderson (captain), 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Tom Stewart, 1 Andy Warwick.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Reid, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Nathan Doak, 22 Jacob Stockdale, 23 Matty Rea.

Referee: Christophe Ridley (England)
Assistant referees: Oisin Quinn (Ireland), Kieran Barry (Ireland)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

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