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Leinster ‘A’ Romp Past Rotherham In Quarter-Final

Leinster ‘A’ Romp Past Rotherham In Quarter-Final

Leinster ‘A’ romped into the semi-finals of the British & Irish Cup with a convincing seven-try 51-32 win over Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane, keeping their hopes alive of retaining the title.

A dominant display in the opening half proved to be decisive against the team who currently sit fifth in the English Championship, as Leinster 'A' went into the interval with a 29-point advantage (40-11).

“We were very pleased with the way we started the game and getting the scores we got,” admitted head coach Girvan Dempsey afterwards.

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“It's hard to pick out a number but I think one of the most pleasing guys was Garry Ringrose. I thought he played really well for his first start in the British & Irish Cup.

“We're very pleased overall but we'll look at the game and we're always self-critical. We gave away a lot of errors and a lot of opportunities for scores and we gave away a couple of sin-bins and we could have been a lot smarter in those.”

Leinster 'A' were given an away fixture for the quarter-finals after the other pool winners bettered their points tally, but the long trip to the south of Yorkshire did not seem to knock Dempsey's youngsters off their stride as they opened up a 16-point lead inside the opening 15 minutes.

It took all of 55 seconds for the current cup holders to open the scoring. Captain Luke McGrath showed his leadership qualities by opening up the Rotherham defence before winger Ringrose provided the pass for Cian Kelleher to notch the first try of the afternoon.

After Rotherham converted a penalty through Tom Barrett, Leinster 'A' quickly created another try-scoring chance, this time Ross Byrne allowing fellow Ireland Under-20 international Ringrose to go in by the posts before Kelleher added his second try of the game to silence the home crowd and open up a 19-3 lead.

Rotherham were provided a lifeline when Tom Denton was yellow carded, ultimately leading to the Titans' first try of the day through Jamie Broadley, who was reintroduced to the home side after a lengthy injury.

But when Leinster 'A' returned to full strength they continued to dominate Rotherham, who had qualified for the knockout stages of the competition for only the second time in their history. Bryan Byrne and Sam Coghlan Murray (pictured above) grabbed tries before a penalty try sounded the end of a miserable first half for the home team.

Dempsey admitted he had cautioned his side about the way Rotherham would come out in the second half, but two penalties early on from Ross Byrne all but ensured the win.

Leinster 'A' had to absorb some pressure after prop Peter Dooley was binned in the 51st minute, and Rotherham salvaged some pride by tallying up three tries and 21 points during the final quarter.

However, a final try by Josh van der Flier, with six minutes left, from a driving lineout maul sent Leinster 'A' home with their dreams of a record third straight British & Irish Cup success alive, as they joined Bristol, Doncaster Knights and Worcester Warriors in the semi-final draw.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)