100 per cent dynamite
The eight Leinster wins that brought them to European glory
Leinster 24 Montpellier 17 Pool stage, round one October 14th, 2017
Four tries and a half-time lead that Leinster never relinquished was the perfect start to a perfect campaign. In this outing Ross Byrne played 10 and Joey Carbery fullback. Carbery on 17 minutes and Josh van der Flier on 25 minutes put early distance between the teams. Robbie Henshaw scored just after the break and left wing Barry Daly (above) secured the bonus point. On the way.
Glasgow 18 Leinster 34 Pool stage, round two October 21st, 2017
Leinster’s second scalp was taken coming from behind. A physical match initially went with the Scots after a penalty from Finn Russell and try from Stuart Hogg. The Leinster forwards took control. Cian Healy hit back twice on 23 minutes and just before the break, with Sexton adding another just after. Noel Reid (above) closed the door on 75 minutes.
Exeter Chiefs 8 Leinster 18 Pool stage, round three December 10th, 2017
How to win in Sandy Park. This time Leinster chose to strangle the Premiership champions. The Irish side did to Exeter what they had done to all visitors since losing at home on the corresponding weekend to Bordeaux Begles exactly 12 months previously. After Saturday’s win against Racing, Isa Nacewa said Leinster beat Racing as they had away to Exeter. “Nothing flash.”
Leinster 22 Exeter 17 Pool stage, round four December 17th, 2017
Leinster managed to rise above the imperfections of a first half in which they trailed 3-17 and 9-17 at the break. It was a victory that scarcely looked plausible at various junctures, especially when Sexton retired after just two minutes. But in a wonderfully abrasive final 40 minutes, Nacewa with his kicking boots on and a Luke McGrath try was enough. Leinster squeezed through.
Leinster 55 Glasgow 19 Pool stage, round five January 14th, 2018
Pure and simple this was a rout in the RDS. Leinster scored eight tries against an under-strength Glasgow to seal top spot in Pool 3 and secure a home Champions Cup quarter-final. Jordi Murphy was the first to go over the whitewash after seven minutes. He was followed by Nacewa twice and Scott Fardy (above) twice, James Lowe, Sexton and Sean Cronin. A rout pure and simple.
Montpellier 14 Leinster 23 Pool stage, round six January 20th, 2018
The final game of the pool and the goal was to top the pool. So they did with a 100 per cent record against meagre opposition to earn top seeding in the quarter-finals and put Montpellier out of the competition. Starting strongly, the lead came after a line break by James Lowe enabled Brian Byrne (above) to dot down. Henshaw and Cronin tries followed. Mission accomplished.
Leinster 30 Saracens 19 Quarter-Final April 1st, 2018
Garry Ringrose opened the scoring after three minutes. But with Bosch, Farrell and Sexton exchanging penalties, there was just one point in it at half-time. Leinster brought energy and purpose after the interval, dominating in a full Aviva Stadium. Lowe claimed a try as did the outstanding Dan Leavy after a memorable one-two with James Ryan. Scarlets in the semi-final.
Leinster 38 Scarlets 16 Semi-final April 21st, 2018
A Leinster performance for the ages. Another rout, they eviscerated the Pro14 champions in a game that launched them into the final as favourites. On a par with beating the twice champions Saracens, Leigh Halfpenny had the temerity to give Scarlets the lead. But Ryan began the brutal demolition on nine minutes with Healy, McFadden, Fardy and Sexton (above) tries following.