James Lowe helped himself four times and Robbie Henshaw scored twice, sending Leinster into the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, where they awaited the winner of the Leicester-Clermont Auvergne match
Last Updated: 04/15/22 9:26 pm
Leinster blasted Connacht with a 56-20 win at Aviva Stadium – winning 82-41 on aggregate – to set up a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final trip with the Leicester Tigers.
James Lowe helped himself four times and Robbie Henshaw won twice, leaving Leo Cullen’s men waiting for the winners of the Leicester-Clermont Auvergne match.
Jamison Gibson-Park, who explained for a high tackle in the first leg disqualification, started the scoring as Leinster ruthlessly opened the scoring to 28-3.
Connacht captain Jack Carty’s early penalty was canceled by points converted from Gibson-Park, Henshaw, Tadhg Furlong and Lowe, who then came after Bundee Aki’s guilt.
The blue men in a crowd of 32,604 had a memorable Good Friday, with Henshaw and Lowe, the standout stars of Heineken, adding to their strength.
Despite the yellow card of Jack Aungier, a brave Connacht salvaged some pride with second-half efforts from Tiernan O’Halloran, Sam Arnold and Abraham Papali’i.
The away team immediately ate 5 points from last week’s match. Cian Prendergast was the fastest to the crash and Carty got past the penalty.
Frustrated half-flyer Connacht scored a penalty shortly after, and Leinster finished in the 10th minute.
Henshaw and Josh Murphy led a raid down the right flank, linking inside with Lowe, who brought Gibson-Park through. Captain Jonathan Sexton converts from the right.
Henshaw shrugs to his Irish teammate Aki after 17 minutes, and a tight Furlong drove over 10 minutes later to make three conversion attempts.
Aki’s subsequent yellow card for a high tackle on Sexton was also clinically punished. Sexton’s lovely inside pass sent Lowe the strength for a late seven-pointer ahead of time.
The flooded lines are good and really clear, with Jimmy O’Brien snooping and Henshaw crossing just 59 seconds after the restart. Sexton’s right boot made it 35-3.
O’Halloran responded for Connacht, freed by Carty’s delayed pass, but Aungier’s yellow for a strike on Josh Van Der Flier’s shoulder resulted in uncontrolled swaggers.
The Westerner, with a clumsy Finlay Bealham replaced, struggled with 13 men over the next few minutes.
Sexton’s short pass hit Garry Ringrose from midfield and he shot wide for Lowe to beat two defenders and double the lead.
Sexton departed with a dozen points after his sixth successful conversion, but Connacht replacement Arnold quickly passed to leave it 42-13.
Then, Lowe’s hat-trick continued, with the replacement of Ross Byrne’s original dummy setting it up, and the same two players banded together again at death.
Byrne’s chip-kick sent Lowe over the left side of the post after Papali’i’s substitution focused on the muscles at the other end.