Leinster Rugby vs Sale Sharks 23/24 Report

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37 Leinster Rugby
27 Sale Sharks

Sat 16 Dec 5:30pm RDS Arena Attendance: 0

Leinster Rugby vs Sale Sharks

Leinster came back from 10 points down to defeat Sale 37-27 and go top of their Investec Champions Cup pool.

Connor Doherty’s converted try gave Sale a 13-3 lead before Leinster hit back late in the first half at the RDS.

Josh van der Flier’s try left them trailing 13-11 at the break and the Irish hosts dominated the second half.

Jamison Gibson-Park, Robbie Henshaw, Ryan Baird and Cian Healy went over for Leinster before late Sale tries from Tommy Taylor and Tom Curtis.

Both teams defeated French opposition in their openers last weekend and it was a tight first half in Dublin on Saturday evening.

Sale made a strong start and Henshaw was sin-binned after a TMO review for grabbing Telusa Veainu’s arm as he was about to collect a pass and with a clear run to the try-line.

The pressure yielded three points courtesy of a Robert du Preez penalty but soon the action switched to the other end as Leinster pushed for a try.

Van der Flier muscled over but the TMO spotted a knock-on and seconds later Sale managed to hold up the ball when the hosts went over again.

Ciaran Frawley’s penalty levelled the game only for du Preez to restore Sale’s three-point advantage with his second successful kick.

An excellent Sale move resulted in the game’s first try on 26 minutes – Raffi Quirke’s pinpoint kick through found du Preez and his offload sent Doherty clear to sprint under the posts.

Du Preez added the extras to make it 13-3 lead but Leinster fought back with a Frawley penalty before Sale prop James Harper was yellow-carded for collapsing the scrum.

Leinster capitalised in the final minute of the first half with van der Flier bursting out of a lineout maul and darting over from close range before Frawley missed the conversion to leave two points between the teams at the break.

The hosts were not at their best in the opening 40 minutes but they moved up a gear on the restart to overwhelm Sale in the second half.

Leinster moved in front on 44 minutes when van der Flier broke the line and released Gibson-Park to scamper through for their second try, which Frawley failed to convert from wide.

Frawley made no mistake with his next two conversion attempts, starting after Henshaw sneaked over for Leinster’s third try following good work from Dan Sheehan.

Baird touched down to secure the bonus point after Leinster went through numerous phases again and try number five arrived after 70 minutes with Healy powering over.

Replacement Sam Prendergast added the conversion and Leinster were 37-13 ahead before Sale produced a final flourish with two late tries.

Taylor bundled over from a line-out maul before Curtis touched down under the posts after a lung-busting run from Aaron Reed.

Du Preez converted both tries but it was too little too late for a Sale side which lies third in Pool four.

Leinster: Keenan; Larmour, Ringrose (co-capt), Henshaw, O’Brien; Frawley, Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Clarkson, Jenkins, Ryan (co-capt), Baird, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Kelleher, Healy, Ala’alatoa, McCarthy, Conan, Murphy, Prendergast, Ngatai.

Sale: Veainu; Roebuck, Doherty, Bedlow, Reed; R Du Preez (capt), Quirke; Harrison, Taylor, Harper, Bamber, Beaumont, Van Rhyn, Dugdale, Birch.

Replacements: Caine, Onasanya, Opoku-Fordjour, Hill, JL Du Preez, Thomas, Curtis, Carpenter.

Referee: Pierre Brousset

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