Leinster’s collective show of power swiftly destroys Montpellier

Leo Cullen’s side produces arguably the most impressive 26 minutes since the Millennium Stadium miracle of 2011

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton gets high tackled by Frans Steyn of Montpellier for which he later received a red card in their European Champions Cup tie at the  RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton gets high tackled by Frans Steyn of Montpellier for which he later received a red card in their European Champions Cup tie at the RDS, Dublin. Photograph: Inpho

 

Many new heroes and not just for one day. Player watch quickly descended into the entire Leinster XV (16 including JP Doyle). This was a collective destruction of a Montpellier side that showed up, muscled up, yet by the time Frans Steyn walked for his late forearm into Johnny Sexton’s chin the victory was halfway to a bonus point.

And anyway, beheading Sexton is not longer enough to subdue them.

Some might go so far as to call it the most impressive 26 minutes from Leinster since the Millennium Stadium miracle of 2011.

Just saying, but ignore opinion and read the evidence.

The distinct Dublin accent of Doyle, who supposedly came in for pre-match flak from Montpellier’s outgoing coach Jake White due to the English referee’s Terenure roots, was heard chiding Timoci Nagusa for an illegal quick tap with five minutes clocked. Isa Nacewa – the All Black who never was as Leinster folk forever praise those 90 seconds in Fijian hue – buried his fellow countryman but Doyle pulled it back for a Leinster scrum in spitting distance of the visiting try line.

With ball unmoving at Jamie Heaslip’s feet, Robbie Henshaw arrowed the same historic, throat slitting line that delivered his Chicago try. It was a decoy and a revved up Montpellier not only repelled this initial Leinster attack, but Sexton bashed his nose completing a try saving tackle on Steyn.

Still, very quickly, the assaults became relentless, engrossing, brilliant visions.

13 minutes: Garry Ringrose, loving the timing of Sexton’s distribution, cracked the midfield before a delicate offload set Nacewa free.

Seconds later Nacewa was over for try number one. Luke McGrath’s speed off the base, his only obvious Achilles heel until now, means Kieran Marmion must produce two dominant displays over the next week to remain on the Ireland bench come Murrayfield in February.

McGrath, or any scrumhalf, can look like George Gregan when heavies torpedo into rucks like Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong (Hayden Triggs keeps showing the value of a gnarly Kiwi lock).

Already, Rory O’Loughlin is expected to appear off his wing and split the defence in every game. The offload to Henshaw saw Ireland’s permanent 12 hauled down just short but Sexton’s looping, controlled pass made it 5-0.

20 minutes: Steyn had six minutes left on the field. After his penalty made it 7-3, and Sexton over cooked the restart, Dev Toner emptied Nemani Nadolo (yes, he was playing).

Hat-trick

The mighty Jack Conan carried, twisted and carried to a wondrous hat-trick. James Tracy was everywhere and like McGrath looks a decent bet for those Irish splinters.

23 minutes: Tiki-taka. Conan’s quick flowing hands put Nacewa down the wing. A chip, chase, gather and magical offload had Conan cantering over for try numbertwo. Ground control to Major Tom, Sexton converts, but the paragraph wasn’t over as Adam Byrne caught the restart and raced 60-plus metres.

Alive, alive O, the one and only Jamie Heaslip beat all comers to Byrne’s shoulder for the offload.

Try number three must wait though. A quick recycle tempted Steyn into the late hit on Sexton, who oddly needed only four minutes to complete his head injury assessment, as the red card and Nacewa’s penalty left victory a certainty at 17-3 in a marvellously clinical 26 minutes.

Ross Byrne understudied long enough to snatch the kicking tee and nail a touchline conversion off Byrne’s ridiculous try. Conan, again, showed the subtly of a Sevens expert to gift his flying winger the score.

36 minutes: Josh van der Flier was out there, snuffing the dying embers of Montpellier’s European campaign with an enveloping tackle on the probing Vincent Martin.

38 minutes: Sexton! He buried the charging Nagusa, off a scrum, with a little help from his newly-appointed and long-term secret service agent (Henshaw).

54 minutes: You may have heard about Jack Conan. Decent skin by the brief media exchanges and a leg pumping assassin, he bowled through Joseph Tomane and other skittles for try 4.

That was the ball game – 31-3 soon became 57-3 as Funderland’s big wheel rolled into the RDS as all that remained was the vision of Leinster youngins’ dancing tackles in the cold.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.