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Ringrose runs riot as Leinster start fast in Europe

Ringrose runs riot as Leinster start fast in Europe

Garry Ringrose crosses for the third of his hat-trick at the RDS (Inpho)

  • Ringrose grabs a hat-trick while Sexton also crosses in victory at the RDS
  • Meanwhile Henry Slade on scoresheet for Exeter in impressive win at La Rochelle

Garry Ringrose laid down an early marker ahead of next year’s Guinness Six Nations with a terrific treble for Leinster on the first Saturday of European action.

The centre was one of the bright sparks for Ireland in Japan during the Rugby World Cup, crossing for scores against both Japan and Russia.

And he has clearly picked up in club colours where he left off on the international scene, after crossing for a hat-trick in the 33-19 win over Benetton.

The outside centre had a first-half double, the first coming from a fine Johnny Sexton pop pass and the second all about his own strength and desire to get to the line.

Sexton was also in impressive form, scoring a fine second-half try himself to give Ireland’s new head coach Andy Farrell a timely reminder of his talents.

Another man who might well have caught Farrell’s eye is hooker Ronan Kelleher.

The youngster has already scored six tries this season in the Guinness PRO14 as Leinster top the standings and are the only team in the league still unbeaten.

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On his first European start in the No.2 jersey, he was at it again on Saturday, touching down in the victory.

And it was rounded off by Ringrose’s treble at the end. The centre said: “We are delighted to beat such a good quality side.

“They have no reason to fear the RDS, we didn’t underestimate them.

“There is a real good buzz around the place and everyone is fighting for spots.”

Meanwhile over in France, another outside centre caught the eye in Henry Slade.

The England star picked off a second-half interception to go the length for the pivotal score in the second half as Exeter beat La Rochelle 31-12.

Sam Simmonds continues his return from injury apace, he too went over in the second half to secure the bonus point and give Eddie Jones food for thought.