A Niall Ronan-captained Leinster side lifted the Bristol Tens trophy on Sunday after a comprehensive 45-0 final victory over hosts Bristol.
Leinster may have walked off the trophy, but the real winners on the day were PROPS, the official charity of Bristol Rugby. The event, held at Clifron RFC, raised more than GBP£20,000 for the rugby-inspired charity which helps brighten the llives of children and adults with special needs.
Coached by Colin McEntee, who had a weekend to remember with Greystones winning the AIB League Division Two title, Leinster made the trip to England with a squad of 16 players, including Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam-winning back row Sean O’Brien and Fionn Carr, the Blackrock full-back who finished as the top points scorer in AIB League Division One this season.
Having failed to shine against the PROPS Barbarians in their opening encounter, Leinster then gathered momentum when taking on Guinness Premiership teams Gloucester and Worcester. But with London Wasps unfortunately unable to defend their crown, McEntee’s charges sensed an opportunity and they duly beat Bath in the semi-finals and cantered past Bristol in the final to take the title on an excellent day for running rugby.
Fergus McFadden, whose place-kicking helped UCD stave off relegation last weekend, was named as the Player of the Tournament while another ‘College star, the Russian-born winger Vasily Artemiev, finished as the competition’s top try scorer.
Speaking after the final, coach McEntee, who works as the Leinster Academy manager, said: “We played some fantastic rugby and it was a great test of skill for the players, so I’m delighted with our performances over the course of the competition.
“In this format of ten minutes-a-side, there’s more space to attack, which in turn makes it harder to defend.
“It’s great to go out and let players express themselves and play with a bit more freedom. There are 10 less players on the pitch in this format, so it is a test and there were some outstanding performances throughout the squad.”
For further information on the PROPS charity, please visit www.props4ward.org.
LEINSTER Squad (Bristol Tens): Forwards – Kieran Maloney, Paul Doran-Jones, Royce Burke-Flynn, Cian Culleton, Gavin O’Meara, Alex Dunlop, Sean O’Brien, Devin Toner, Niall Ronan (capt)
Backs – David Moore, Jonathan Sexton, Fergus McFadden, Ross McCarron, Michael Berne, Fionn Carr, Vasily Artemiev