The hooker opens the scoring in Dublin

Not even a minute on the clock and Leinster were flying in for their first try of the 2023 Heineken Champions Cup final. If Dan Sheehan scores a quicker try in his career, we’ll be stunned!

With a lineout ball floated just over Andrew Porter as the front lifter, Jack Conan caught it on the run, and as he drew the man, set free hooker Sheehan with the pass back to the outside.

Related: The Making of La Rochelle

It was the dream start for Leinster, but they were turbo charged in the first half – as commentator Miles Harrison called it, a “ridiculous start”. The odds on three Dan Sheehan scores must have shortened significantly too.

Because by five minutes, Leinster had shifted the ball wide with frightening speed and Jimmy O’Brien dived in to score in the corner for a second. And then Sheehan had his second score, with a laser pass from scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park finding the hooker from the base of the ruck. It was ferocious stuff.

The momentum was telling in other ways too, with Tawera Kerr-Barlow shown a yellow card for trying to kill Leinster’s continuity and clean ball.

By the 20th minute, La Rochelle got their own score, with Jonathan Danty bumping off would-be tacklers and stretching (just) to touch down, but it was converted and 17-7… Finally a break.

However, rugby is an 80-minute game, and lots lay ahead in the second half! Here is the story of how La Rochelle win Champions Cup number two!

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