Champions Cup – Jamison Gibson-Park Led Leinster Rugby To Victory Over Leicester Tigers

 

Jamison Gibson-Park led Leinster Rugby to a 36-22 victory over Leicester Tigers in the Investec Champions Cup Round of 16.

The Leinster Rugby scrum-half scored three tries in the opening 30 minutes, running the show as the Irish province set up a meeting with Stade Rochelais in the quarter-final, a rematch of the last two finals.

Leicester Tigers struck first on the night via fly-half Handre Pollard, who went in under the posts and converted his own score.

But Leinster Rugby soon stamped their authority on the game, with Gibson-Park orchestrating the back-line as they tore through the Gallagher Premiership side.

Pollard would add another three points from the tee, but with Gibson-Park's trio of scores, plus two conversions and a penalty from fly-half Ross Byrne, Leinster Rugby were comfortably in the lead at the break.

In the second period, Leicester Tigers came quickly out of the blocks once again, prop James Cronin going over in the corner for an unconverted score shortly after wing James Lowe was sent to the bin.

But just as momentum swung the way of Leicester Tigers, the Irish province struck once more.

With the visitors on the attack, centre Robbie Henshaw poached an attempted pass out wide to race away and score between the posts, Byrne adding the extras.

Leicester Tigers kept up the pressure and were on top for large swathes of the second period, but they failed to find a way through the Leinster Rugby defence.

Instead, it was the Irish province who got the crucial next score, this time truly killing the gamel; replacement Jack Conan went over underneath the posts, converted by Harry Byrne who had also come off the bench.

Leicester Tigers would eventually get over again when a poor Leinster Rugby line-out right on their own five-metre line flew into the grateful hands of Leicester Tigers’ Charlie Clare, but it proved too little too late.

The win sets up a mouth-watering quarter-final, with Stade Rochelais returning to Dublin, where they beat Leinster Rugby to win a second-straight title in EPCR’s elite competition last May.

Stade Rochelais also beat Leinster Rugby in the Marseille showcase back in 2022, but it was Leinster Rugby who won the most recent clash between the two titans earlier this campaign, triumphing 16-9 at the Stade Marcel Deflandre.

Scorers:
Leinster: Tries: Jamison Gibson-Park (3), Robbie Henshaw, Jack Conan. Conversions: Ross Byrne (4), Harry Byrne. Penalty: Ross Byrne.
Leicester: Tries: Handre Pollard, James Cronin, Charlie Clare. Conversions: Handre Pollard (2). Penalty: Handre Pollard.

Teams

Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Jamie Osborne, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris (c), 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 Joe McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter. Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Ben Murphy, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Ciarán Frawley.

Leicester: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Freddie Steward, 13 Dan Kelly, 12 Solomone Kata, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Jack van Poortvliet, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Olly Cracknell, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 5 Kyle Hatherell, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 James Cronin. Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Finn Carnduff, 20 Emeka Ilione, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Phil Cokanasiga, 23 Mike Brown.