European Champions Cup: Leinster 25-11 Bath

Sean Cronin
Cronin has scored 14 tries in 112 appearances in the Pro12 for Leinster and former clubs Connacht and Munster
European Champions Cup, Pool Five
Leinster (12) 25
Try: Cronin Con: Madigan Pens: Madigan 6
Bath (3) 11
Try: Houston Pens: Ford, Preistland

Bath's hopes of a European Champions Cup quarter-final came to a dispiriting end as they were well beaten by a youthful Leinster side in Dublin.

The Irish side, who had already been eliminated before the match, led at half-time through Ian Madigan's boot.

Bath got within range when number eight Leroy Houston nudged his way over on 59 minutes to cut the hosts' lead to 15-8.

But from the restart, Leinster regained the ball and hooker Sean Cronin crashed through to all but end the contest.

Pool Five
PlayedWinsPts differencePoints
Wasps43+7714
Toulon43-412
Bath52-389
Leinster51-356

Bath finished as runners-up in the Premiership last season, but a campaign that promised much at the start has been a dismal disappointment.

Out of Europe and eighth in the Premiership, it now appears that last weekend's excellent performance in the south of France - where they came within three points of defending champions Toulon - was another false dawn for Mike Ford's side.

It may have taken almost an hour for the first try to arrive, but the contest itself was absorbing from the start.

With their own hopes of making the last eight gone, Leinster's youthful selection brought energy and enthusiasm, while both sets of backs looked dangerous.

Leinster's Worcester-bound league convert Ben Te'o went on a jinking break, before Bath centre Jonathan Joseph's deft kick infield almost found Houston at the other end, with only Dave Kearney's desperate cover denying him.

Madigan's accuracy off the tee was the difference on the scoreboard at the break as he punished Bath's indiscipline with four precise penalties.

Another kick early in the second half stretched Leinster's lead, but it appeared Bath had grabbed a lifeline when Houston barged over from close range.

But George Ford squandered the conversion before his team did the same with their chances of salvaging a result.

A horrible mix-up between Houston and Matt Banahan gave away possession off the restart and replacement Cronin burst around the base of the ruck to restore his side's advantage.

The introduction of more experience off the Leinster bench - with Eoin Reddan and Sean O'Brien making cameo appearances - helped the hosts see out the final quarter in relative comfort.

Leinster: Kirchner, Nacewa, Ringrose, Te'o, D. Kearney, Madigan, L. McGrath, Dooley, Tracy, Furlong, Molony, M. McCarthy, Ruddock, van der Flier, Murphy.

Replacements: Reid for Kirchner (67), Sexton for Nacewa (74), Reddan for L. McGrath (66), J. McGrath for Dooley (46), Cronin for Tracy (46), Moore for Furlong (46), Denton for M. McCarthy (46), O'Brien for Murphy (59).

Bath: Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, K. Eastmond, Banahan, Ford, Cook, Lahiff, Webber, Wilson, Hooper, Day, Garvey, Louw, Houston.

Replacements: Homer for Watson (64), Auterac for Lahiff (50), Batty for Webber (41), Thomas for Wilson (41), Ewels for Day (53), Denton for Louw (41).

Not Used: Evans, Priestland.

Sin Bin: Day (35).

Att: 14,569

Ref: Pascal Gauzere (France).

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