Leinster sink Exeter at Sandy Park

Leinster sink Exeter at Sandy Park

Leinster progress into the Champions Cup semi finals after Leo Cullen's men fought back from 14-0 down to beat Exeter 22-34 at Sandy Park on Saturday.

After less than 20 minutes, it looked as if it was going to be a long day for as they trallied by 14 points to the defending European Champions on their home patch.


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However, the men in blue kept their hopes of a fifth Champions Cup title alive producing an outstanding comeback to seal a place in the last four. 

Exeter dominated the opening stages of the game as winger Tom O'Flaherty ran in two tries in the opening eight minutes. The speedster slipped through the Leinster defence for his first from a set-piece.



His second was set up by Henry Slade as the England centre broke through the defence and sent the winger into space and he had the strength and power to score. Joe Simmonds slotted both conversions to give Exeter a 14-0 lead after just 10 minutes. 


However, Leinster did not give in as James Lowe strolled over the try line after some slick hands from Jonathan Sexton and Hugo Keenan. Sexton added the two as the gap was closed to seven.

Captain Johnny Sexton left the pitch for another head injury in the first half with Ross Byrne starring in his place making an instant impact as he sent the ball wide to Jordan Larmour to score before the half hour mark.

Byrne slotted the conversion and two further penalties as Leinster led 14-20 at the break.

Exeter started the second half just as brightly as the second as O’Flaherty broke through the Leinster defence and the men in blue gave away a penalty as they scrambled back in defence. Exeter kicked into the left corner and produced an extremely dynamic maul try finished by flanker Dave Ewers. Simmonds missed the extras, he soon kicked a penalty when O’Loughlin was caught offside. 

Byrne edged Leinster back in front after a tackle off the ball by Dave Ewers on Ronan Kelleher. The Irish Province led 23-22 with half an hour left.

Larmour then superbly finished his second try before the hour mark as Leinster made it a 6 point game.


Jannes Kirsten was lucky to escape as card, much like Jonny Hill in the first half, as referee Raynal saw his tackle as just a penalty with Ross Byrne making it a 9 point game with 15 minutes to play.

The nine-point gap was enough for Leinster to close out the game while Rory O'Loughlin was denied an intercept try due to an ugly tackle. Exeter couldn't add to the score board as Byrne point the final nail in the coffin in the 79th minute from the tee.

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