Leinster sink Bath as Munster Castres-rate French champions in Thomond Park
LEINSTER gained a vital away victory and severely dented Bath’s Heineken Champions Cup hopes by claiming a tensely-fought 17-10 victory.
Jordan Larmour’s interception try early in the second half proved to be crucial as Leinster shaded a tight Pool One encounter.
Bath, enduring a disappointing season so far, delivered an impressive display but they were undone after taking the lead through prop Henry Thomas’ 22nd-minute try James Wilson.
Hooker Sean Cronin hauled Leinster level just before the interval, and with world player of the year Johnny Sexton converting both tries and Ross Byrne kicking a late penalty, Leinster went top of their group.
The defeat leaves Bath tumbling towards an early exit, having failed to win any of their first three European games and facing a testing return encounter against Leinster in Dublin next weekend.
Meanwhile, in Limerick, JJ Hanrahan was propelled from the bench to lead Munster to a comfortable win over a stubborn but limited Castres side at Thomond Park.
The Reds can take full control of Pool 2 next Saturday if they can back up this victory over the Top 14 champions in France, although they’ll expect more from their opponents away from home.
The Kerryman stepped in after Joey Carbery was ruled out at the 11th hour with a training ground injury. That backline loss was compounded when the home side lost Chris Farrell in the warm-up, meaning Sam Arnold stepped in at No 13.
In an untidy game, Hanrahan led well and scored 20 of his side’s 30 points in a dominant performance that earned him the Man of the Match award.
Having dominated possession and territory to such an extent, Johann van Graan’s side will be disappointed not to have collected a bonus point but they’ll take solace from their position as pool leaders, three points clear of Gloucester.