Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster beat Gloucester 49-14 to book a place in the last 16

Jamie Osborne scores a try
Jamie Osborne impressed in front of Irish selectors Mike Catt and Simon Easterby
Gloucester (7) 14
Try out: Penalty 2
Leinster (28) 49
It tries to: Larmour, Ala’alatoa, Osborne, Doris, Keenan, van der Flier, Kelleher Against: R Byrne 5, H Byrne 2

Leinster booked their place in the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup by beating Gloucester 49-14 at Kingsholm.

Jordan Larmour, Michael Ala’alatoa, Jamie Osborne and Caelan Doris secured the bonus point in the first half for Leinster, who led 28-7 at the break.

Irish internationals Hugo Keenan, Josh van der Flier and Ronan Kelleher scored additional tries in the second half.

Gloucester scored on penalties in each half.

The win confirmed unbeaten Leinster’s qualification for the knockout stages with a game to spare, while Gloucester’s promotion hopes rest on their final Group A game against Bordeaux Begles in France next Saturday.

Leinster were thrashed 57-0 by weaker Gloucester in Dublin and the Irish province needed just three minutes to make their mark against a much stronger Gloucester side when Larmour flew over unchallenged after relentless early pressure.

Osborne’s superb tackle, in front of Ireland coaches Mike Catt and Simon Easterby watching ahead of Thursday’s Six Nations squad announcement, led to Seb Atkinson being sent to the basket and Leinster immediately capitalized when the Ala’alato prop went down.

Gloucester, to their credit, put pressure on the Leinster line. Prop Val Rapava-Ruskin switched from pick-and-go but was retained by a number of blue shirts.

The home side got their reward when Andrew Porter brought down a rolling mallet, leading to a penalty try and a yellow card for the prop.

Gloucester’s hope lasted a few minutes when Osborne danced around a number of pink jerseys with quick feet before pouncing to restore the two-try gap between the sides.

Leinster secured a bonus point with six minutes on the clock when, in similar fashion to Ala’alato’s try, a tap-and-go penalty resulted in Doris falling on the last play of the half.

Ireland second-row James Ryan broke through the home defense six minutes into the second half, Ross Byrne’s clever flick found Keenan in space and the full-back beat George Barton on the byline to score on his 50th appearance for Leinster.

Gloucester were awarded a second penalty in the 16th minute when Doris brought down the goal and the second row received a yellow card.

However, just like in the first half, Leinster struck with 14 men when 2022 World Rugby Player of the Year Van der Flier buried over the line.

Fly-half Santiago Carreras was sent to the basket in the closing stages for a deliberate tackle and Kelleher converted for Leinster’s eighth try.

Gloucester: Barton; May, Harris, Atkinson, Thorley; Carreras, Meehan; Rapava-Ruskin, McGuigan, Gotovcev, Clarke, Alemanno, Ackermann, Ludlow (cap), Morgan.

Replacements: Blake, Elrington, Knight, Jordan, Clement, Varney, Twelvetrees, Seabrook.

Leinster: Keenan; Larmour, Ringrose (capt), Osborne, O’Brien; Byrne, Gibson-Park; Porter, Sheehan, Ala’alatoa, Molony, Ryan, Baird, Van der Flier, Doris.

Replacements: Kelleher, Milne, Healy, Deeny, Conan, McCarthy, Byrne, Turner.

Referee: Pierre Brousset (France).

Assistant referees: Vincent Blasco Baque and Flavien Hourquet (both France).

TMO: Denis Grenouillet (France).

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