LEINSTER’s power and authority, which crushed Rotherham in the first half at Clifton Lane, have put the champions into the semi-finals for the third consecutive season, and, on this evidence, it is highly probable they will retain the trophy.
The Yorkshire side, outscored by six tries to one in the opening 40 minutes, failed to cope with Leinster’s dominant pack, in which No 8 Peader Timmins stood out, and failed to defend against Leinster’s three-quarters.
Full-back Cian Kelleher scored twice – after only 55 seconds and then 15 minutes later.
Winger Garry Ringrose scored in between, and Leinster added three more tries before the interval, by hooker Bryan Byrne and left winger Sam Coghlan-Murray. When Rotherham’s forwards were being pulverised on their line, the referee awarded a penalty try. So, at the break, with a lead of 40-11, a semi-final slot was already confirmed.
But Rotherham recovered and competed with more conviction to score three converted tries, one by the former Leinster academy player winger Michael Keating.
The Titans’ improved form restricted Leinster to a late try by flanker Josh van de Flier and two penalties from fly half Ross Byrne.
“I’m pleased, but we are critical of ourselves,” said coach Girvan Dempsey. “We made a lot of errors, gave away penalties and had two men in the sin bin. We’ll be seeing where we can improve.”
Rotherham Titans – Scanlon; Broadley, Hayes, Davies (McKinney 40), Keating; Barrett, White (Mitchell 64); Hislop (Williams 55), Cruse, Tampin (Thiede 40), Maddison (Parker 40), Holmes, Argyle (Morris 40), Preece (Birch 64) Rieder.
Leinster A – Kelleher; Ringrose, Macken(Dardis 40), O’Shea, Coghlan-Murray(Crosbie 79); R Byrne, McGrath (McCarthy 74); Dooley,B Byrne(Tracy 48), Heffernan(Prendiville 77), Molony,Denton(Beirne 63), Marshall(Coghlan 79), Van de Flier, Timmins.
Ref – C Evans (Wales)