Leinster complete double over Exeter

Isa Nacewa helped Leinster to a comeback victory over Exeter
Isa Nacewa helped Leinster to a comeback victory over Exeter

Leinster 22-17 Exeter Chiefs, Aviva Stadium

A better second half performance from Leinster helped them earn a hard-fought 22-17 win over Exeter Chiefs to maintain their perfect start in the European Champions Cup clash at Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Exeter Chiefs had a lead of 9-17 at half time but were unable to add any points in the second half as they succumbed to second defeat against Leinster in successive rounds.

Rob Baxter's side got off to a promising start when Sam Skinner crossed over in the second minute that was improved by Gareth Steenson to make it 0-7.

Leinster suffered major setbacks when Johnny Sexton and his replacement Ross Byrne left the field in the first six minutes after failing Head Injury Assessment but Isa Nacewa kicked an 11th minute penalty to help the Irish side get off the mark.

The infringements from Leinster saw Cian Healy sin-binned in the 17th minute and soon after he returned, Scott Fardy was yellow-carded in the 31st minute for his attempted collapse. During this phase, Luke Cowan-Dickie crossed over with Steenson kicked a penalty and a conversion on either side to make it 3-17.

Nacewa provided some respite for Leinster with back to back penalties at the stroke of half time to reduce the trail to eight points leading into the second half.

Exeter were the aggressors again on the resumption but it was Leinster who struck again through Nacewa's 55th-minute penalty, following a couple of clever runs by Fergus McFadden and Garry Ringrose. Suddenly, Leinster held the edge as McFadden went close to scoring in the right corner - the excellent Henry Slade and Woodburn held him up - but an offside call allowed Nacewa to coolly cut the gap to just two points.

With Leavy and James Ryan having the desired impact off the bench, and Ringrose carrying more of a threat in midfield, Leinster pounced for the decisive score when James Tracy combined with the fast-breaking Leavy whose flat delivery sent the supporting McGrath over by the posts as Leinster completed a five point victory following Nacewa's conversion.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table