United Rugby Championship: Dominant Leinster progress as Sharks dumped out
Leinster progressed to the United Rugby Championship semi-finals after they hammered the Sharks 35-5 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The ruthless Irish province ran in scores from Caelan Doris, Michael Milne, Jordan Larmour, Max Deegan and Jamison Gibson-Park on Saturday.
Those five Leinster crossings came after Grant Williams had opened the scoring for the Sharks, with that as good as it got for the South Africans.
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Thomas du Toit won the Sharks’ first scrum penalty, getting the decision over Milne, and scrum-half Williams followed up with a brilliant seventh-minute solo try.
The once-capped Springbok broke in between Tadhg Furlong and Ryan Baird before outpacing Dave Kearney for the right corner. Boeta Chamberlain’s conversion went wide.
An impressive Kearney counterattack put Leinster in a position to respond, and Doris was fed from a maul to smash his way over past Makazole Mapimpi. The Sharks winger was sin-binned for an awkward head-led tackle.
Harry Byrne converted and also added the extras to Milne’s 20th-minute try, which saw the prop pile over with support from Deegan.
A Byrne cross-field kick played in Larmour for try number three, and the hosts also stopped a big drive from the Sharks pack, which had Carlu Sadie on for the injured du Toit.
A costly scrum free-kick, coupled with a late Chamberlain penalty miss, left the Sharks frustrated. Their scrum continued to be dominant on the restart, with Ox Nche to the fore.
However, a neat line of passes soon sent the lurking Deegan over from the left touchline, with replacement Jack Conan supplying the assist. Byrne’s right boot made it 28-5.
Gibson-Park completed the scoring in the 74th minute, going over from a deft Kearney kick-through. Fellow replacement Ross Byrne converted.
The Sharks, who miss out on Champions Cup rugby for next season, had a Rohan Janse van Rensburg try ruled out for James Venter connecting with Andrew Porter’s head at a ruck. The flanker ended the game in the sin bin.
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