Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster secure 33-19 bonus-point win over Benetton

Leinster centre Garry Ringrose scores his first of three tries against Benetton
Garry Ringrose scored a hat-trick for Leinster
Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster v Benetton
Leinster: (19) 33
Tries: Ringrose 3, Kelleher, Sexton Cons: Sexton 3, Byrne
Benetton: (7) 19
Tries: Budd, Faiva, Sperandio Cons: Keatley 2

Leinster scored five tries in their Champions Cup opener against Benetton at the RDS Arena in Dublin on Saturday.

Garry Ringrose shone with his first career hat-trick, while Rónan Kelleher and Johnny Sexton also touched down for the hosts to secure a bonus point win.

Benetton lock Dean Budd scored in the first half while hooker Epalahame Faiva and winger Luca Sperandio scored second-half tries for the visitors.

Irish international Ian Keatley kicked two conversions for Benetton.

Leinster started the match brightly with man-of-the-match Ringrose getting his side into the Benetton half before he popped up on the left to score the first try.

Benetton responded with some pressure of their own, winning a penalty, going to the corner and then scoring through Budd, who muscled his way over for a hard-earned score, which Keatley converted to put the visitors ahead.

Budd gave away a penalty minutes later and Leinster went to the maul then when it broke down, Ringrose's footwork helped him skip over the line as the four-time winners regained the lead.

The visitors started to make more mistakes and prop Nicola Quaglio went to the sin-bin after a high tackle on Kelleher.

Kelleher, who is second in Pro14 try-scoring with six, dummied a pass to Josh van der Flier and darted in for his first European try, which Sexton converted for a 19-7 half-time lead.

The hosts secured their bonus point after the break, as Sexton stood strong in a tackle, broke away and passed to van der Flier, who fended off Esposito and offloaded back to the fly-half for the score

With Leinster's bonus point in the bag, Benetton kept fighting in hope of one of their own, and they turned pressure into tries for Faiva and Sperandio but Ringrose cemented his huge influence on the game with a third try, again confounding the visitors with his footwork.

Leinster move to the top of Pool 1 with five points ahead of next week's away trip to Lyon, while Benetton will hope to bounce back against Northampton Saints in Treviso.

Leinster: Larmour; D Kearney, Ringrose, O'Loughlin, Lowe; Sexton, McGrath; Healy, Rónan Kelleher, Porter, Toner, Ryan, Ruddock, Van der Flier, Doris

Replacements: Tracy for Kelleher 56, Dooley for Healy 56, Bent for Porter 56, Fardy for Ruddock 64, Deegan for Doris 16, Gibson-Park for McGrath 70, Byrne for Sexton 56, Henshaw for O'Loughlin 64.

Benetton: Hayward; Esposito, Brex, Sgarbi (capt), Sperandio; Keatley, Duvenage; Quaglio, Faiva, Riccioni; Herbst, Budd; Pettinelli, Steyn, Manu.

Replacements: Makelara for Faiva 52, Zani for Sperandio 28, Pasquali for Riccioni 29, Fuser for Budd 41, Lazzaroni for Herbst 65, Halafihi for Manu 41, Tebaldi for Duvenage 59, Allan for Sgarbi 52.

Referee: Pierre Brousset (France)

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport