Saturday 16 December 2017

Injuries to Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney mar Leinster’s victory as they seal a home semi

Leinster 50 Benetton Treviso 19

Jonathan Sexton, Leinster, leaves the pitch. Guinness PRO12, Round 22, Leinster v Benetton Treviso. RDS Arena, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Jonathan Sexton, Leinster, leaves the pitch. Guinness PRO12, Round 22, Leinster v Benetton Treviso. RDS Arena, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster bounced back from last weekend’s defeat as they ruthlessly exposed Treviso on their way to sealing a bonus point victory that sets up a home semi-final against Ulster in two weeks.

The Italians were no match for Leinster who will be sweating over the fitness of Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney who were both forced off prematurely.

Sexton was replaced after 46 minutes after he shipped a big hit that required medical attention on his head/neck area.

Kearney limped off after just 24 minutes with an ankle problem and he is a major doubt to face Glasgow as his injury ravaged season continued.

Two Richards Strauss tries as well as one from Sexton set Leinster on their way in a rampant first half display.

Sexton played with the swagger of old and with Garry Ringrose tearing the Treviso defence to shreds, the result was never in doubt.

The opening try arrived after nine minutes when Sexton fed Isa Nacewa who had run a brilliant line and with both Kearney brothers involved, the ball eventually made its way back to Sexton who scored what was a sensational try.

Strauss powered his way over from close range twice in seven minutes and with Sexton converting the second one, the hosts stretched their led to 17-0 at the break.

The home supporters didn’t have to wait long for the crucial fourth try as Jack McGrath following another searing Nacewa break.

Nacewa added the extras and got in on the try scoring act himself after his clever kick through was collected by Ringrose who fed Jordi Murphy who in turn found Nacewa for another well worked score.

Nacewa’s conversion stretched the lead to 31-0 and Treviso’s task mounted further when Filo Paulo was sent to the sin bin after 56 minutes and 30 seconds later Leinster got over for their sixth try.

Mick Kearney was credited with his first try for the club but the second-row injured himself while scoring and joined Sexton and Rob Kearney on the casualty list. Devin Toner was also a late withdrawal through illness.

Treviso did get over for three consolation tries. First through replacement Marco Lazzaroni and Jayden Hayward's conversion briefly cut to gap to 36-7.

Noel Reid hit back just three minutes later with Leinster’s seventh try and Nacewa’s conversion pushed them back into a 34-point lead.

Leinster’s defence was breached for a second time when Treviso moved the ball wide and Matteo Muccignat got over in the corner.

Leo Cullen will be furious that his side allowed the Italians in for a third try through Enrico Bacchin that Hayward converted but the hosts would have the final say when Ringrose scored in injury time.

Nacewa’s conversion put the gloss on the score line but by that stage, the focus had already switched to Ulster.


Leinster - R Kearney (N Reid 24); I Nacewa (capt), G Ringrose, B Te'o, D Kearney; J Sexton (C Marsh 47), E Reddan (L McGrath); J McGrath (P Dooley 55), R Strauss (S Cronin 52), M Ross (T Furlong 52); R Molony, M Kearney (H Triggs 58); R Ruddock, J Murphy (D Ryan 54), J Heaslip.


Benetton Treviso - J Hayward; L Nitoglia, T Iannone (E Bacchin h-t),, A Sgarbi, A Esposito; L McLean, E Gori (A Lucchese 42); M Zanusso (M Muccignat 67), O Gega (L Bigi 54), S Ferrari (S Manu 55); M Fuser, F Paulo; F Minto (A De March 67), A Zanni (capt) (M Lazzaroni h-t), A Steyn.


REF - B Whitehouse (WRU)

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