Match summary – Bath RUGBY 7-64 LEINSTER Rugby
Leinster showed their experience to record a 64-7 scoreline against Bath Rugby in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Jimmy O’Brien scored four tries and there were also scores for Josh van der Flier, Jordan Lamour, Ciaran Frawley, Andrew Porter, Hugo Keenan and Dan Sheehan.
Bath, who were heavily disrupted because of injury throughout, scored their seven points through Max Clark following a Charlie Ewels interception.
Tom Prydie pulled out on the morning with Will Butt coming into a youthful backline.
Arthur Cordwell earned his first European outing for the Blue, Black and White – the latest in a long line of Academy graduates to do so. Orlando Bailey, Cameron Redpath and Gabriel Hamer-Webb completed those under-23 in the starting XV.
Leinster had a squad full of 374 Ireland caps with just two of their starting XV not capped at international level.
Johnny Sexton captained the side from fly-half with last weekend’s Star of the Match Josh van der Flier starting on the flank.
Bath Rugby: 15 Ruaridh McConnochie, 14 Gabriel Hamer-Webb, 13 Max Clark, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Butt, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Arthur Cordwell, 2 Jacques du Toit, 3 Will Stuart, 4 Will Spencer, 5 Charlie Ewels ©, 6 Tom Ellis, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Josh Bayliss
Replacements: 16 Tom Doughty, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Josh McNally, 20 Mike Williams, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Max Ojomoh, 23 Darren Atkins
Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Jimmy O’Brien, 10 Johnny Sexton ©, 9 Luke McGrath; 1 Andrew Porter, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 4 Ross Molony, 5 Josh Murphy, 6 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 8 Jack Conan
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Vakh Abadaladze, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Ciaran Frawley
Bath showed fantastic intent from the get-go and won four penalties inside the opening 10 minutes.
Each time they opted for the corner in a pursuit of the game’s try. Jacques du Toit and Josh Bayliss made early in-roads and Bailey displayed a creative running game but Leinster’s formidable defence held firm.
The hosts were equally strong in defence for large periods and the physicality levels were certainly at their highest for a long while.
But Leinster remained patient and whilst not making many metres from the initial phases, the visitors thought they had the first try when Leinster grubbered on and O’Brien dotted down but it was chalked off for a pullback on Clark.
Butt and Sam Underhill put in two massive shots as the crowd roared but the latter, along with Bayliss, were forced off and Leinster capitalised as Larmour freed his hands to pass to O’Brien despite Ruaridh McConnochie’s excellent tackle.
Bayliss and Underhill’s departure meant captain Ewels moved to Number 8 for the first time since he was a teenager and he continued to lead the defence, causing errors in the Leinster ranks.
However, van der Flier punched a hole and Larmour crossed from a scrum turnover to extend their lead.
Bath’s positives were rewarded in a first-half score. Mike Williams smashed Porter in the midfield and the prop’s offload was grasped by Ewels who sprinted 40 metres up-field. Aware he was about to be caught, the lock lifted the ball up for Clark to slide home.
Leinster responded immediately with Sexton controlling proceedings. O’Brien collected a Sexton grubber to dot down his second and Frawley was sent over on the switch to make it 33-7 to the Irish province at half-time.
Hamer-Webb received a yellow card for a deliberate knock and Leinster made the most of their man advantage as Porter barged his way over.
Soon after, Sexton showed brilliant awareness to send a quick cross-kick from a penalty into the hands of wing O’Brien who crossed for his hat-trick.
Then Leo Cullen’s side turned on the style as O’Brien’s show and go sent Garry Ringrose on and speedy ball to the left sent Keenan in for a try.
There were signs of promise for Bath. Ben Spencer’s creative show and go and dink was cancelled out by Max Deegan’s foul – he was binned – and Redpath almost combined with Ojomoh as they kept hammering an irish door that wouldn’t open.
And Leinster’s quality with ball in hand continued to shine through with Sheehan and O’Brien rounding off the scoring.