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United Rugby Championship: Leinster 47-14 Bulls – Second half comeback secures bonus point win

  • By Mark Strange
  • Rugby writer

5 minutes ago

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Marcell Coetzee and Jamie Osborne in action during the first half

United Rugby Championship: Leinster v Bulls

Attempts: van der Flier, Kelleher, Lowe, Milne, Sheehan, Conan, Turner Cons: H Byrne 3, R Byrne 3

Attempts: Arendse Pens: Goosen 3

A brilliant second half performance gave Leinster a 47-14 victory over the Bulls in the battle for the top two of the United Rugby Championship at the RDS.

Kurt-Lee Arendse crossed to give the visitors a 14-12 lead at the break, despite attempts from Josh van der Flier and Ronan Kelleher for Leinster.

James Lowe, Michael Milne, Dan Sheehan, Jack Conan and Liam Turner came on for the hosts in the second half.

Leinster now has a nine-point lead over their opponents in the table.

Jake White's visiting South African team immediately set the tone with their physicality and took a lead in the first 15 minutes with two long-range shots from Johan Goosen.

Leinster welcomed back a number of their Irish Six Nations winners and came to life with a trademark goal after 20 minutes.

Van der Flier went under the posts to convert a try thanks to a clearance from Jamie Osborne after Jordan Larmour danced through the defense.

Leinster then came out with a thunderous blow against the visitors, who were playing their own game. Ronan Kelleher took his usual position at the end, marching off as the South Africans fell apart.

Harry Byrne went close with the touchline conversion but Leinster were six points ahead after half an hour.

Five minutes before half-time, David Kriel sent Arendse down the wing to score and Leinster were dealt a double blow when captain Luke McGrath was condemned to sin when referees ruled his attempts to stop the Springbok winger illegal held.

Goosen then gave the visitors the lead at the break thanks to his third penalty with the last shot of the half.

That lead lasted less than five minutes, however, as Lowe's dart over the blindside sent him into the corner and Byrne scored a wonderful two-pointer.

The bonus point was secured just two minutes later when substitute Milne put the finishing touches to a beautiful Leinster move that required quick and deft handling.

Leo Cullen's side still had some work to do defensively, but tied the game in the 65th minute when Sheehan ensured both home hooks got on the scoresheet as he dodged in the corner after Conan brought the ball to the ground after a scrum.

They weren't done yet either as Conan outdid himself and scored a seven pointer as he shot through Willie Le Roux for a powerful strike.

Incredibly there was still time for a seventh place finish as Leinster once again showed their strength with another substitute Turner coming home after the break from Rob Russell. Ross Byrne replaced his brother at half-time and scored his third goal to level the score.

Leinster: Larmour, Russell, Henshaw, J. Osborne, Lowe, H. Byrne, McGrath, Healy, Kelleher, Ala'alatoa, R. Molony, J. McCarthy, Baird, van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: Sheehan, Milne, Furlong, Jenkins, Doris, Gibson-Park, R. Byrne, Turner.

Bulls: leRoux, K. Arendse, Moodie, Kriel, Williams, Goosen, Papier, Steenekamp, ​​​​van der Merwe, W. Louw, Vermaak, Nortje, van Staden, E. Louw, Coetzee.

Replacements: J. Grobbelaar, Matanzima, M. Smith, Ludwig, Gumede, Z. Burger, C. Smith, Vorster.

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU)

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