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Leinster Rugby host Gloucester Rugby in Round 2 of Heineken Champions Cup action on Friday evening as both sides look to maintain winning starts to their Pool A campaigns.
Last week, Leinster trounced Racing 92 42-10 on the road, and Gloucester edged Union Bordeaux-Bègles 22-17 at home.
The two sides have met only twice before, with the home side winning on each occasion: Leinster won 37-20 in Dublin and Gloucester 19-13 at Kingsholm in the 2006/07 pool stage.
The match kicks off at 20:00 (UK and Irish time) at the RDS Arena, and is available to watch on RTE, BT Sport, beIN Sports, SuperSport, and FloRugby.
Will Connors (Leinster Rugby): “They have a really proud history that they’re looking to protect, and they want to have as much success as we do. They’re going to be a huge challenge to us.”
Alex Craig (Gloucester Rugby): “They’re full of talent right across the board, full of Ireland internationals, stardust players really. It’ll be a massive challenge for us as a squad. We’ve got to go into every game trying to win it. I think for us, coming back into the competition, it’ll be a big challenge. But we’ve got a lot of faith in the squad, and we know when we get things right, we can beat anyone, especially at home, we back ourselves.”
Best try on opening weekend? 🤩
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 13, 2022
- Leinster made more entries to the opposition 22 than any other side in Round 1, with 16.
- They also set up a round-high of 17 mauls, making a total of 41 metres.
- They also won a round-high four turnovers in the tackle.
- Four of their six tries against Racing 92 began with lineouts.
- Gloucester threw to the back of the lineout four times in Round 1 – more than any other team, with a success rate on their own throw of 94 per cent.
- Santiago Carreras kicked more metres from penalties out of hand than any other player in Round 1 (289).
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Leinster Rugby made it two bonus-point wins from two in the Heineken Champions Cup as they ran in nine tries to beat Gloucester Rugby 57-0 at RDS Arena on Friday night.
James Lowe and Ronan Kelleher both crossed for try braces, with further scores coming from Josh van der Flier, James Ryan, Luke McGrath, Jordan Larmour and Caelan Doris. Ross Byrne added five conversions.
A youthful Gloucester side battled commendably, but last season’s finalists were a class above as they asserted themselves as the early Pool A leaders.
Gloucester initially made life difficult for Leinster, but the Irish province sprung into life on 12 minutes as wing Lowe raced over in the corner after flankers van der Flier and Caelan Doris combined, the former supplying the turnover and the latter providing an excellent lofted pass.
A second score came five minutes later as van der Flier crashed over amid a driving maul, and the hosts repeated the feat shortly after to hand hooker Kelleher his first of the evening.
Gloucester hooker Henry Walker was sin-binned for a high tackle on 36 minutes to make the visitors’ task even more daunting, and lock Ryan crashed over to secure Leinster’s bonus point before Kelleher cruised in for another in the final play of the half.
The steal and the pass from Caelan Doris 💰
The pace and the finish from @JamesLowe_03 ⚡️
A beautiful try for @leinsterrugby's opener.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 16, 2022
Lowe went close to a second score early in the second half, but his superb finish was chalked off due to a foot in touch, though scrum-half McGrath would skip over for Leinster’s sixth following another dominant scrum.
That scrum saw Gloucester prop Ciaran Knight yellow-carded as the visitors’ front row crumbled under immense pressure, and Lowe got his second of the night as Doris smartly fed his teammate down the blindside on 55 minutes.
Replacement hooker Dan Sheehan was the provider for the hosts’ eighth try on 75 minutes as his brilliant offload found substitute wing Larmour.
And after Gloucester wing Jacob Morris knocked on when he looked set to grab a consolation try, Doris was rewarded for a stellar performance as he crashed over amid another dominant maul in the final play.
Leinster and Gloucester face off again in Round 3 as the Irish province head to Kingsholm Stadium on January 14.