European Champions Cup: Leinster 38-16 Scarlets
|European Champions Cup semi-final: Leinster v Scarlets|
|Leinster (24) 38|
|Tries: Ryan, Healy, McFadden, Fardy, Sexton Cons: Sexton 5 Pen: Sexton|
|Scarlets (9) 16|
|Tries: Beirne Con: Patchell Pens: Halfpenny|
Leinster surged into the Champions Cup closing with a shocking dismantling of Scarlets in Dublin.
The Irish province made a blistering begin as tries from James Ryan, Cian Healy and Fergus McFadden gave them a 24-9 half-time lead.
Scott Fardy and Johnny Sexton underlined their dominance and Tadhg Beirne scored Scarlets’ comfort.
Leigh Halfpenny earlier kicked three penalties, however Scarlets have been in any other case helpless towards unstoppable Leinster.
Unerringly correct and ruthlessly scientific, Leinster performed near-perfect rugby at occasions as they took a serious stride in direction of a fourth Champions Cup title.
Their victory additionally retains alive the potential of an all-Irish closing as Munster face Racing 92 in Bordeaux on Sunday.
Sensible Leinster champions in ready?
Powered by the majority of this 12 months’s Irish Grand Slam winners, Leinster are aiming to develop into solely the second workforce – after Saracens in 2016 – to win each match of a victorious Champions Cup marketing campaign.
That they had already crushed title holders Saracens within the quarter-finals, and that after dominating a pool which included Exeter, Glasgow and Montpellier, every of whom are at the moment high of the English Premiership, Professional14 and French Prime14 respectively.
The Irish province additionally carried with them the expertise of profitable this competitors thrice in 9 years, they usually flexed their appreciable muscle with a high-octane begin.
An abrasive pack set the tone, with Ryan, Devin Toner, Fardy and others carrying forcefully and, on the uncommon events their opponents had the ball, tackling ferociously.
Very similar to Eire did throughout their Six Nations victory over Wales on the identical venue in February, Leinster monopolised possession and capitalised on their superiority with endurance and intelligence.
After forcing the Scarlets on to the again foot, Leinster made the primary break of the sport by way of McFadden and, though the wing was stopped in need of the road, Ryan was readily available to boulder his manner over the road.
Leinster strain got here in waves and, though Halfpenny’s penalties gave the Scarlets faint hope, one other sequence of relentless Irish section play resulted in a strive for prop Healy from shut vary.
Brute power was not restricted to forwards, as centre Robbie Henshaw hurtled into the guests’ midfield like a cannonball, making a mockery of the very fact he had not performed since injuring his shoulder in February.
Henshaw and fellow Eire centre Garry Ringrose epitomised Leinster’s nearly robotic accuracy, which helped the hosts pull additional clear as McFadden touched down within the nook for his facet’s third strive on the cusp of half-time.
Though nonetheless in whole management, Leinster exerted their dominance in a distinct method after the break, with the superb Sexton placing Scarlets’ backs underneath intense strain with a collection of well-aimed excessive kicks.
These towering punts gave Leinster the sphere place to attain a fourth strive by way of Australia flanker Fardy after which from Sexton himself, slicing by way of on the nook.
This was as full a workforce show as you may want for from the previous champions and, on this proof, it’s going to take an distinctive efficiency from Racing 92 or Munster to disclaim Leinster a fourth European title.
Scarlets left to lick their wounds
Earlier than they have been confronted by this Leinster juggernaut, Scarlets had been somewhat extra assured than most groups could be travelling to tackle the most effective workforce in Europe in their very own metropolis.
After they confronted Leinster in final season’s Professional12 semi-final on the RDS, the Welsh facet had wing Steff Evans despatched off within the first half, however claimed a memorable 25-17 victory earlier than occurring to thrash Munster within the closing at Aviva Stadium.
Whereas their latest historical past in Dublin was beneficial, nevertheless, the Scarlets had sad recollections of this stage within the competitors, having misplaced all three of their earlier European semi-finals.
This was their first last-four look since 2007 and, in reality, they by no means appeared like securing that elusive first closing.
Wayne Pivac’s males have been overwhelmed by Leinster’s energy and ruthlessness within the first half, whereas they have been worn down by Sexton’s towering excessive kicks – chased tirelessly by his team-mates – within the second half.
This was a chastening expertise for Scarlets and, now their European dream is over for one more season, they need to flip their consideration again to home issues and a defence of their Professional14 crown.
Leinster: R Kearney; McFadden, Ringrose, Henshaw, Nacewa; Sexton (capt), Gibson-Park; Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Fardy, Leavy, J Murphy.
Replacements: Tracy, J McGrath, Porter, Molony, Conan, McCarthy, Carbery, Larmour.
Scarlets: Patchell; Halfpenny, S Williams, H Parkes, S Evans; D Jones, G Davies, R Evans, Owens (capt), Lee, Beirne, Bulbring, Shingler, J Davies, Barclay.
Replacements: Elias, D Evans, Kruger, Rawlins, Cummins, A Davies, Hughes, Boyde.
Referee: Romain Poite (Fra)
Assistant referees: Mathieu Raynal (Fra), Pierre Brousset (Fra)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (Fra)
Citing commissioner: Shaun Gallagher (Eng)