November 16

Leinster strengthen Champions Cup credentials with 27-point win over Bath

first_imgRugby union Wasps out of Champions Cup as Antoine Dupont-inspired Toulouse seal win Bath and Wasps, great champions themselves, are out. These are not happy times for either club. Bath just wanted to get this game out of the way before the serious business of survival in the Premiership resumes next week. They are closer these days to relegation candidates than the champions of yore.Dublin in 2018 is not the place for relegation candidates. The storm that had been battering Dublin more or less lifted before kick-off, not that Bath would have known. Leinster had the bonus point by half-time, battering Bath at the set piece, turning them this way and that in midfield and cutting them up out wide. The home side, in front of the customary thousands for Christmas in the Aviva, were in the mood after the ugly collection of the points at Bath the week before.Bath were far from toothless themselves. They opened the scoring with an early penalty from James Wilson. It says something about the parlous state of their game that their emergency fly-half, brought back to the West Country to cover for Freddie Burns and Rhys Priestland, is coaxing out of them some of the better rugby Bath have played this season. His smart break and off-load paved the way for Francois Louw’s try at the end of the first quarter. Leinster Support The Guardian Share via Email Jamie George’s late try seals victory for Saracens over Cardiff Blues Since you’re here… Share on Facebook Reuse this content Share on Twitter The two greatest teams of European rugby, with four titles apiece, will now go head to head at the top of Pool 1. Leinster remain the favourites, despite trailing Toulouse by two points. The Irishmen were unplayable on Saturday, dismissing Bath with enough ease to look contemptuous. Theirs is home advantage in the next round against Toulouse, who collected the full five points at home to Wasps. Leinster are a safe bet to top the group. Share on Messenger The Observercenter_img By then, though, Leinster had scored two tries, 14-3 up by the 12th minute, before doing the same in the second quarter for that bonus point. Well as Wilson is playing, there is no question who the master puppeteer is these days. Sexton, world player of the year, no less, was at the heart of everything.His cross-kick set up the attack that ended with James Conan’s try in the seventh minute. Then his classic loop and pass released Jordan Lamour five minutes later.The full-back had picked a beautiful line and his feet and off-load to Rory O’Loughlin for Leinster’s second were even sweeter.James Lowe snuck in for a cheeky third try, quickly tapping a penalty to himself, and just before half-time Adam Byrne out-jumped Darren Atkins to score the fourth from another Sexton cross-kick, after Leinster had bewildered Bath with their handling, smashed them at a scrum and tested them in the line-out. These boys can play any way they want to.Five minutes into the second half they chose to adopt the relentless battering method, Dan Leavy crashing over after several close-quarter hit-ups. Bath responded with a similar class of try from Sam Underhill but Leinster’s Kiwis, Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park combined for the latter’s score, a sixth try to wrap up this latest gift for Dublin’s thousands, to rugby itself. Share on LinkedIn Bath Share on Pinterest Read more Read more The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Topics … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on WhatsApp Champions Cup match reportslast_img read more