Leinster take Ulster's best shot and still crush them underfoot 1 year ago

Leinster take Ulster's best shot and still crush them underfoot


Leinster have made league history after winning the Guinness PRO14 for the third season in a row.


Ulster pulled off one hell of a comeback to stun Edinburgh, last weekend, in the semi-finals but, once they put some daylight between their opponents, Leinster brutally snuffed out a repeat.

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster had to endure a difficult opening half hour, at the Aviva Stadium, as James Hume put Ulster 5-0 ahead thanks to a superbly worked try and his electric pace. Leinster have not been in too many holes this season, on their 23-game winning streak, but their pulses may have quickened slightly as Ulster threw the kitchen sink.

In response, Jamison Gibson Park flung a tracer bullet. The Leinster No.9, picked ahead of Luke McGrath for the final, found James Lowe with a lazer pass that took out two Ulster defenders and it was game on again.

Ross Byrne converted that score and added a penalty to make it 10-6 before the Blues' defence earned their corn with some robust tackling before they secured a crucial turnover in their 22.

Ulster ended the half on the attack but, repelled again and going nowhere fast, Alby Mathewson kicked the ball out for half-time. Having made most of the running in the opening half, Ulster must have wondered how they were not going into the dressing rooms with the lead. HALF-TIME: Leinster 10-5


PRO14 final Leinster lock James Ryan is stopped in his tracks at the Aviva Stadium. (Credit: Sportsfile)

The contest was effectively ended within 10 minutes of the restart. First, Byrne popped over another penalty to extend the lead. Soon after, Robbie Henshaw pounced.

Billy Burns was not having the best of nights in the 10 jersey, for Ulster, and Henshaw swooped in to intercept a pass he had intended for Stuart McCloskey. The Leinster centre galloped away and dotted down under the posts to make it 20-5.

There was still time for Leinster to give McGrath, Scott Fardy, Will Connors and Johnny Sexton runs out ahead of next weekend's Champions Cup quarter final against Saracens. And to see this one out, of course.


Caealan Doris bagged himself the exclamation point try at the end as the three-in-a-row was sealed in style.