Flawless Leinster blank hapless Benetton
MATCH REPORT: Leinster duly clinched top seeding and a home quarter-final in the Champions Cup by securing a 100 percent record in Pool 1 with an 18-0 victory over a battling Benetton side in Treviso.
The Italian outfit gave as good as they got for long spells and it wasn’t until close to the hour mark that Leinster secured victory with the first of two tries in a six-minute spell.
Benetton were also hit by a sin-binning for second-rower Irne Philip Herbst for obstruction two minutes into the second period.
As Leinster finally found their feet first number eight Caelan Doris plunged over after a dominant spell by the visitors’ pack which resulted from Benetton centre Angelo Esposito being trapped behind his own line.
Then as Leinster finally got the wind in their sails replacement James Tracy charged over from a driving maul and Ross Byrne, who also landed a second-half penalty, converted to finally kill off the Benetton challenge.
The home side came out of the blocks quickly and dominated the opening stages but the tough-tackling Leinster defence managed to keep them at bay.
Leinster’s frustration at not being able to get into top gear was highlighted when Doris was sent to the sin-bin midway through the first half after repeated offending by the visitors.
But the Pool 1 winners enjoyed more territory as the half progressed and finally broke the deadlock when flyhalf Byrne was on target with a simple penalty five minutes before the interval and by the close had underlined their superiority.
For Benetton: NONE
Tries: Doris, Tracy.
Pens: Byrne 2
Yellow cards: Irné Herbst (Benetton, 41), Caelan Dorris (Leinster, 17)
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Abraham Steyn, 6 Marco Barbini (captain), 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Cherif Traore, 19 Irné Herbst, 20 Giovanni Pettinelli, 21 Marco Lazzaroni, 22 Antonio Rizzi, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.
Leinster: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Max Deegan, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Rob Kearney.
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Anthony Woodthorpe (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)