100 per cent dy­na­mite

The eight Le­in­ster wins that brought them to Euro­pean glory

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Rugby European Champions Cup final -

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.

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