No surprises in the Aviva Stadium today as Leinster went through the motions in their first-half dismantling of a desperately poor Bath outfit.
Such was the dominance of Leinster, particularly in the opening 30 minutes, the final score line of 45-20 flattered the away side.
Luke Fitzgerald received his fair share of slack during the week after his “better than all the other teams” comments. However, Leinster went some of the way to exonerating him by reinforcing their reputation as one of the deepest and most dynamic squads in Europe.
Indeed if there was a buzzword for today’s performance it would ‘dynamism’. Leinster’s front row and Ryan Baird made multiple inroads with a mix athletic carries, side-steps, and hand-offs.
Bath did in fact take the lead, to their credit, with outhalf Orlando Bailey kicking them into a three point lead after two minutes.
Hindsight is a great thing but Bath should have known that it was tries they needed, and Leinster were quick to respond with Jamison Gibson-Park continuing his fine international form by finishing off a well worked score after four minutes.
Leinster hammer Bath at the Aviva
Leinster cut Bath wide open! 🔷
The hosts attack down the narrow side and it's a numbers game as Jamison Gibson-Park crosses over in the corner.#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/yUvPkbvC0t
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 11, 2021
The next 25 minutes were the most damning as Leinster finished off their opponents with ruthless efficiency and wrapped up the four try bonus point after 24 minutes.
James Lowe, Tadhg Furlong, and Hugo Keenan all crossed over, before Gibson-Park went over for his second try of the match. Ross Byrne kicked three conversions while Bath managed to sneak a try in the 37th minute through hooker Jacques Du Toit.
After the break Kelleher bulldozed his way to a try, getting up a second time after he wasn’t held in the tackle. Josh Van Der Flier, who continues to show off his newly acquired carrying skills, also went over after multiple phases of relentless Leinster pressure.
Bonus point for Leinster within 25 minutes against Bath… pic.twitter.com/FRN8gtz74t
— RugbyInsideLine (@RugbyInsideLine) December 11, 2021
With a score line of 31-13 at the break, Leinster had little to play for which provided them with an excuse for only scoring 14 points in the second half.
Despite this they will be disappointed with the sloppiness of a lot of their play, and none will be more aware of this than the Leinster players and coaching staff. Having seen the quality of Antoine Dupont and Toulouse, and a Leicester side who ground out a vintage narrow away win in Bordeaux, Cullen and Lancaster will be under no illusions.
Leinster's next fixture is away to Montpellier next Friday. We'd imagine they will face a more stern test in the south of France.