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Ireland forwards help break records in domestic action

Ireland forwards help break records in domestic action

Andrew Porter Ronan Kelleher - Ireland forwards

With the Autumn Nations Series just around the corner, members of the Ireland pack shone during another weekend of fascinating domestic action.

In the United Rugby Championship, Leinster broke their own record by becoming the first team in tournament history to score seven tries in a match without a single one by a back.

The Irish province already held the mark when they crossed the whitewash on six occasions, each by a forward, against Benetton back in 2013 but went one better during a runaway 50-15 triumph over Scarlets at the RDS Arena.

Highly-rated young hooker Dan Sheehan went over for two of the scores, the home scrum earned a penalty try and the other four came from Ireland internationals – Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter, Caelan Doris and Cian Healy doing the business.

In truth, the Leinster pack dominated throughout the 80 minutes and Ireland coach Andy Farrell will be pleased to see some of his key men in form ahead of games against Japan, New Zealand and Argentina in the Autumn Nations Series.

In the battle of Irish fly-halves, Connacht’s Jack Carty largely outshone Munster’s Joey Carbery with pinpoint distribution during a Player of the Match display but Carbery slotted a late conversion to give his side a 20-18 win.

Carty had even charged down Carbery to score a try that put Connacht ahead in the final stages before Diarmuid Barron’s 78th-minute score and the subsequent extras turned the tables.

Elsewhere in the United Rugby Championship, back-rower Nick Timoney – who made his Ireland debut against the United States this summer – crossed twice as Ulster defeated South African side the Lions 26-10.

Scrum-half Rhys Webb reminded Wales coach Wayne Pivac of his abilities with a pair of tries for Ospreys during a 29-26 victory over Benetton that also saw Azzurri winger Monty Ioane, hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi and talented young centre Tommaso Menoncello among the scorers for the Italians.

Wales name squad for Autumn Nations Series

Pivac would also have been impressed by the recently recalled Rhys Priestland, who steered Cardiff Rugby to a 23-17 victory over Cell C Sharks with 13 points from the boot, while centre Uilisi Halaholo crossed for a try.

In the Gallagher Premiership, England trio Luke Cowan-Dickie, Maro Itoje and Anthony Watson all left the field injured to give Red Rose coach Eddie Jones an anxious wait.

On his first game back for Saracens after British & Irish Lions duty this summer, Itoje scored an early try but exited in the second half with a shoulder injury – although his premature departure didn’t stop Sarries cruising to a dominant 71-17 victory over Bath.

Utility back Max Malins was the star with a hat-trick, while hooker Jamie George got two tries but Bath’s day got worse when winger Watson limped off with a knee injury.

Henry Slade, Sam Simmonds and Jonny Hill were among the scorers as Exeter Chiefs downed Wasps 27-23 but hooker Cowan-Dickie appeared to roll his ankle as he was forced off the field.

Wales back-rower Thomas Young scored one of Wasps’ two tries in that contest, while another Welshman – winger Luis Rees-Zammit – scored a sensational try as Gloucester drew 25-25 away to London Irish.

One to Watch: Marcus Smith

Fly-half Marcus Smith couldn’t stop Harlequins slipping to a 28-22 defeat at Sale Sharks but England summer debutant Callum Chick barrelled over for Newcastle Falcons’ only score in a 13-5 triumph over Bristol Bears.

Over in France, Montpellier’s clash with Clermont became a battle of kickers hoping to make an impact in the Autumn Nations Series.

Julien Tisseron and Damian Penaud exchanged early tries before Italy fly-half Paolo Garbisi booted five penalties for Montpellier and France’s Camille Lopez did likewise for Clermont but Lopez’s conversion of Penaud’s try ultimately proved the difference in a 22-20 triumph.

Crowley announces Italy squad

Les Bleus lock Paul Gabrillagues and flanker Sekou Macalou both crossed as Stade Francais edged out Perpignan 23-22, while Matthieu Jalibert staked his latest claim for the starting No.10 jersey in the Autumn Nations Series with a virtuoso performance for Bordeaux Bègles.

The 22-year-old scored two tries, booted three penalties and three conversions for good measure for an individual tally of 25 in Bordeaux’s 37-33 victory over Pau.

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