URC: Leinster, Edinburgh, Sharks pick up wins

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Recap Friday’s United Rugby Championship action as Leinster, Edinburgh and the Sharks pick up victories over Connacht, Benetton and the Bulls… Leinster 47-19 Connacht

Normal service resumed at the RDS as Leinster overcame a fast-starting Connacht to post a 47-19 United Rugby Championship derby win.

URC: Leinster, Edinburgh, Sharks pick up wins
Dan Sheehan scored a superb try as Leinster picked up victory over Connacht

Dan Sheehan’s superb sidestepping try on the stroke of half-time gave Leinster a 19-12 lead. The Westerners led twice through scores from Mack Hansen and Sam Arnold.

Beaten by Ulster last week, Leo Cullen’s men opened their try account through Rhys Ruddock and Garry Ringrose, and Jordan Larmour added the fourth just after the restart.

Caelan Doris, Ryan Baird and replacement Max Deegan completed Leinster’s seven-try haul – the latter one cancelling out a Conor Oliver effort – with the result a timely boost for the Blues heading into Europe next week.

Edinburgh 24-10 Benetton

Blair Kinghorn was at the heart of the action as in-form Edinburgh moved up to second in the United Rugby Championship with a bonus-point 24-10 victory against Benetton at the DAM Health Stadium.

The number 10 helped create the Scots’ opening two tries and then scored the third himself as Mike Blair’s team posted a fourth consecutive victory and leapfrogged Ulster – who visit the Ospreys on Saturday – in the table.

Benetton got the first points on the board in the eighth minute when Leonardo Marin pinged a penalty between the posts after Edinburgh were penalised for not rolling away quick enough.

The game swung back in the hosts’ favour in the 12th minute when Benettoncaptain Dewaldt Duvenage was sin-binned for cynically stopping a try-scoring opportunity. It proved costly for the Italians as Edinburgh scored two tries in his absence.

Sharks 30-16 Bulls

The Sharks battled to a 30-16 victory over the Bulls in Durban as the United Rugby Championship belatedly made its debut on South African soil on Friday.

Following the postponement of two rounds of cross-hemisphere clashes in the country due to the discovery of a new coronavirus variant, organisers brought forward this Round 12 fixture to help fill the gap.

David Kriel touched down against the run of play as the Bulls took a 13-9 lead into half-time, but skipper Lukhanyo Am’s terrific intercept try and Kerron Van Vuuren’s late touchdown helped the Sharks pick up their second win of the season.

Am was one of several Springboks returning to a strong Sharks side, with Siya Kolisi and Makazole Mapimpi also among those making their first URC outings.

Boeta Chamberlain kicked 20 points for the Sharks, while Morne Steyn racked up 11 for the visitors at Jonsson Kings Park, which hosted 2,000 fans for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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