Leinster 89-7 Montpellier: Irish province thrash Top 14 visitors in Heineken Champions Cup; Bordeaux-Begles crush Scarlets
Weekend's Champions Cup results; Friday: Castres 13-16 Munster, Cardiff 33-36 Harlequins; Saturday: Wasps 30-22 Toulouse, Connacht 28-29 Leicester, Ospreys 10-25 Racing, Exeter 52-17 Glasgow, La Rochelle 39-21 Bath, Bristol 28-17 Stade Francais; Sunday: Leinster 89-7 Montpellier
Last Updated: 16/01/22 8:05pm
Leinster got their Heineken Champions Cup campaign back on track as they produced an 89-7 annihilation of Montpellier in Dublin.
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Leo Cullen's side scored 13 tries in all at the RDS Arena, as Jack Conan (two), Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Ross Molony, Michael Ala'alatoa, Jordan Lamour, Josh van der Flier (two), Jimmy O'Brien, Dan Sheehan (two) and James Lowe each crossed.
Despite some obvious rustiness, Leinster pocketed their bonus point by the 23rd minute and led 40-7 at half-time, with Masivesi Dakuwaqa mustering Montpellier's only response.
Byrne finished the match with 19 points and Jonathan Sexton kicked 10 as Leinster took their try haul to 13.
A wilting Montpellier played the final 13 minutes without Fijian flanker Dakuwaqa, who was sent off for a swinging arm tackle.
Disruption caused by Covid-19 meant this was Leinster's first game in over a month and they quickly got down to business.
Conan was in acres of space for the third-minute opener before O'Brien's pass was batted backwards by Henry Thomas, allowing Gibson-Park to pick up an opportunist second try.
Montpellier's teenage number 10 Louis Foursans then had a kick charged down by Ronan Kelleher, Byrne following up for a simple finish under the posts.
The only real concern for Leo Cullen's men was on the injury front, as James Ryan pulled out beforehand with a minor muscle issue and Tadhg Furlong went off early on.
Second row Molony stretched over to make it 28-0, but Montpellier's attack sparked into life from the restart.
Boyne RFC product Karl Martin made the initial break and, with a knock-on ruled out, Dakuwaqa's lunging 27th-minute effort from a ruck stood.
Marco Tauleigne was denied a second Montpellier try due to Guilhem Guirado's foot in touch, before a terrific pass from Gibson-Park played in prop Ala'alatoa for Leinster's fifth.
Livewire winger Larmour deservedly got on the scoresheet after 38 minutes, reaching over after a classy run by Caelan Doris.
Just three minutes after the interval, Van Der Flier scored from a fine Conan offload and Byrne converted for a 40-point margin.
Kildare man O'Brien soon accelerated through for a superb solo score from 40 metres out, with Byrne again converting.
The newly-introduced Sexton added the extras to Van Der Flier's second try, as the flanker gobbled up Vincent Giudicelli's long lineout throw and sped clean through from Montpellier's 10-metre line.
Into the final quarter, replacement hooker Sheehan galloped over from Lowe's return offload for Sexton to convert.
Dakuwaqa was then dismissed for a loose challenge that made contact with Van Der Flier's head.
Sheehan completed his double from a lineout maul, and Leinster eclipsed their biggest European winning margin from 2003 - A 92-17 victory over Bourgoin - thanks to closing tries from Conan and Lowe.
Leinster finish out their Champions Cup pool stage with an away fixture vs Bath at the Rec next Saturday (1pm), where Cullen's side will look to claim a bonus-point success to make sure of a knockout place and the highest seeding possible.
Montpellier, now firmly out of the knockout picture, host the Premiership's Exeter Chiefs in the final fixture of Round 4 next weekend on Sunday (6.30pm).
Bordeaux-Begles 45-10 Scarlets
Bordeaux ran in seven tries to comprehensively beat the Scarlets 45-10 at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in the third round of the Champions Cup.
Louis Bielle-Biarrey scored a hat-trick and there were further tries from Cameron Woki, Geoffrey Cross, Maxime Lamothe, and Nans Ducuing to fire Bordeaux to a bonus-point victory. Liam Williams and Gareth Davies scored the only Scarlets tries.
Both sides were forced into late changes with three positive Covid cases in the Bordeaux side forcing Francois Trinh-Duc, and Maxime Lucu out of the starting XV with Santiago Cordero having to cover at scrum-half, and Mathieu Jalibert starting at 10.
The Scarlets lost Scotland international Blade Thomson and prop WillGriff John in the warm-up. In came Morgan Jones at lock, and Samson Lee at tight-head prop, with Jac Price, and Harri O'Connor coming onto the bench.
Bordeaux enjoyed 57 per cent possession in the first quarter of the game and really never let up in a dominant win.
ASM Clermont Auvergne 25-19 Sale Sharks
Morgan Parra came off the bench to kick ASM Clermont Auvergne to victory at the Stade Marcel-Michelin.
The experienced international half-back was introduced with the scores level at 19-19 and 20 minutes left on the clock. He then stepped up and nailed a 45-metre penalty, before adding another, to ensure the home side secured victory
For ASM Clermont Auvergne, the result keeps them in the hunt for knockout rugby and they will travel to Belfast for a 5.30pm contest with Ulster on Saturday. The Irish province have already qualified for the Round of 16.
Sale's endeavour in France earned them a losing bonus-point, something that could be useful in their continued quest to qualify for the knockout stages. They will now host Ospreys in Round 4 on Sunday afternoon.