Leinster 25-11 Bath: Visitors say goodbye to their Champions Cup dreams for this season
Already eliminated Leinster romp to a 25-11 victory against Bath
Four Ian Madigan penalties gave Leinster a 12-3 lead at the break
Sean Cronin’s try gave the hosts significant daylight after Leroy Houston had cut the gap
Two more penalties and a conversion took Madigan’s total to 20
Despite propping up Pool 5 with no chance of progression, Leinster strolled to a deserved 25-11 win to dump Bath out of the Champions Cup on Saturday at the RDS Arena.
The first half offered no tries, but Leinster held a nine-point lead at the interval with Ian Madigan’s four penalties being the least the Irish province deserved.
Bath had only played in fits and bursts and could have no arguments with the scoreline as George Ford knocked over the visitors only three points from the tee, 12-3.
Bath got within range when number eight Leroy Houston nudged his way over on 59 minutes to cut the hosts’ lead to 15-8.
But from the restart, Leinster regained the ball and hooker Sean Cronin crashed through to all but end the contest.
Rhys Priestland’s penalty with 14 minutes remaining narrowed the margin to 11, but the only points in the closing stages came courtesy of a final Madigan three-pointer.
Madigan slotted the penalty and Leinster are off the mark after eight minutes but Ford levelled for the visitors from the tee just shy of the hour.
Two quickfire penalties from Madigan sandwiched around a yellow card Bath’s Dominic Day edged the hosts back in front, which was probably fair on the balance of play, 9-6.
Bath, against the run of the general play, though nearly opened the try-scoring just before the break as Houston raced after Joseph’s smart grubber and initially had looked to have beaten Kearney to the touchdown. Replays though clearly showed it was a close call but Kearney did ground the ball before the Bath No 8.
Then with the clock in the red Madigan knocked a difficult shot at goal from out on the left wing between the posts to give the hosts a 12-3 lead at the break.
Although Bath were back up to 15 men, things continued to go Leinster’s way with Madigan slotting his fifth penalty five minutes after the restart, 15-3.
Bath though responded with the opening try just shy of the hours as Houston emerges from the pile of bodies over the try line after a tight, cohesive driving maul. Ford though pushed the conversion wide.
Leinster hit back immediately through Cronin as the hosts capitalised fully on a Bath error. The man who pounced on the restart, Cronin came on to the ball and charged through the Bath defence over the line. The extras were then added by Madigan, 22-8,
The Leinster fly-half then took his total for the day to 20 as he slotted yet another three-pointer with just three minutes left to play, securing the win for the hosts.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Leinster: Gary Ringrose
Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Isa Nacewa (c), 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Peter Dooley
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Noel Reid
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 David Denton, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer
Date: Saturday, January 16
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant Referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Eric Gonthier (France)