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Leinster 56-20 Connacht: Leinster advance to Champions Cup quarter-finals with landslide victory | Rugby Union News


James Lowe used four tries and Robbie Henshaw scored twice, allowing Leinster to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup where they await the winners of the Leicester-Clermont Auvergne match.

Last update: 04/15/22 21:26

James Lowe ran in four tries as Leinster hammered Connacht to reach Challenge Cup quarter-finals

Leinster blasted Connacht with a 56-20 win at the Aviva Stadium – winning 82-41 on aggregate – to stage a likely Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final trip to Leicester Tigers.

James Lowe used four tries and Robbie Henshaw pocketed two, leaving Leo Cullen’s men to wait for the winners of the Leicester-Clermont Auvergne encounter.

Jamison Gibson-Park, who had his citation for a first leg high tackle dismissed, started the try scoring as Leinster ruthlessly opened up a 28-3 half-time lead.

Connacht captain Jack Carty’s first penalty was overturned by converted scores from Gibson-Park, Henshaw, Tadhg Furlong and Lowe, the latter coming after Bundee Aki’s sin.

The blue hordes in a crowd of 32,604 had an unforgettable Good Friday, with Heineken match star Henshaw and Lowe adding neatly to their tallies.

Despite a yellow card from Jack Aungier, a valiant Connacht recovered some pride with second-half tries from Tiernan O’Halloran, Sam Arnold and Abraham Papali’i.

The visitors immediately overcame their five-point deficit from last week’s game. Cian Prendergast was quickest at the breakdown and Carty knocked down the penalty.

The Connacht fly-half frustratingly fired a penalty soon after, and Leinster duly thundered in the 10th minute.

Henshaw and Josh Murphy led a smooth push down the right wing, linking inside with Lowe who fed Gibson-Park to go through unscathed. Captain Jonathan Sexton converted from the right.

Henshaw shrugged off Irish team-mate Aki to crash out in the 17th minute, and the one-on-one Furlong drove over 10 minutes later to make three converted tries.

Aki’s subsequent yellow card for a high tackle on Sexton was also punished clinically. Sexton’s fine inside pass sent Lowe in power for a late seven before the interval.

The floodgates were well and truly open, with Jimmy O’Brien prowling and Henshaw crossing just 59 seconds after the restart. Sexton’s right boot made it 35-3.

O’Halloran answered for Connacht, released by Carty’s delayed pass, but Aungier’s yellow for a shoulder charge on Josh Van Der Flier caused uncontested scrums.

The Westerners, with a groggy Finlay Bealham already replaced, had to work hard with 13 men for the next few minutes.

Sexton’s short pass unleashed Garry Ringrose halfway through and he turned the ball wide for Lowe to beat two defenders and double his contribution.

Sexton left with a dozen points after his sixth successful conversion, but Arnold, Connacht’s substitute, quickly burst in to leave it 42-13.

Lowe’s hat-trick score followed, with the initial Ross Byrne replacement dummy setting it up, and the same two players combining again just to the death.

Byrne’s chip kick put Lowe to the left of the posts after substitute Papali’i muscled in at the other end.




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