Leinster outplay Cheetahs in treacherous conditions
PRO14 REPORT: Conference A leaders Leinster extended their unbeaten run in the Pro14 to 11 games after beating Cheetahs 36-12 in treacherous conditions at the RDS Arena.
Tries from Michael Bent, Ronan Kelleher Rhys Ruddock and two from Will Connors gave the Irish province a comprehensive bonus-point victory in Dublin.
With two stands closed due to Storm Dennis, the hosts started positively after openside prop Connors powered over for Leinster’s first score – Ciaran Frawley converting.
After Charles Marais was sin binned following a series of infringements by the visitors, flyhalf Ciaran Frawley’s three-pointer extended Leinster’s lead just before the half-hour mark.
It did not take long for Leinster to score a second try, with Max Deegan’s break providing his side front-foot ball before prop Michael Bent bulldozed his way over.
And as the Cheetahs returned to a full contingent, Leinster added their third of the afternoon with Ronan Kelleher crossing over on the stroke of half-time after a powerful line-out maul from the Irish province.
Leinster picked up where they left off in the second period with Rhys Ruddock’s score clinching the try-scoring bonus point before Connors added another to his tally for the afternoon.
With replacement Sean Cronin in the bin, the South African side took advantage of the extra man as Luan de Bruin darted over from short range.
In the last play of the game Cheetahs scored a second try through Aidon Davis, but it was a deserved victory for the hosts.
Man of the match
Will Connors was in stellar form all afternoon for Leinster.
His work ethic, endeavour and numerous carries were crucial as the home side impressed in tough conditions, not to mention an excellent couple of tries from the back-row.
Play of the day
Despite Leinster’s dominance, it was the visitors in complete control at scrum time in the second 40.
After numerous attempts to convert their authority into points, the Cheetahs managed to display great resolve to cross over Luan de Bruin.
Leinster 36-7 Cheetahs
It took a long time but Luan de Bruin gets the Cheetahs first points on the board.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) February 15, 2020
Tries: Connors 2, Bent, Kelleher, Ruddock
Cons: Frawley 4
Tries: De Bruin, Davis
Yellow cards: Charles Marais (Cheetahs, 28); Sean Cronin (Leinster, 59); Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Cheetahs, 68)
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Jimmy O’Brien, 12 Joe Tomane, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ciarán Frawley, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Max Deegan, 7 Will Connors, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Scott Fardy (captain), 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Rónan Kelleher, 1 Peter Dooley.
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Michael Milne, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Scott Penny, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Cian Kelleher.
Cheetahs: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Ruan Pienaar (captain), 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Junior Pokomela, 6 Chris Massyn, 5 JP du Preez, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Aranos Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Aidon Davis, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Chris Smit.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffkin (Ireland), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)
Main photo: @PRO14Official