Guinness PRO14: Records tumble in classic final

Charlie Peat
29 May 2018

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Leinster and Scarlets brought the curtain down on an enthralling Guinness PRO14 season with a superb final at the Aviva Stadium.

Leo Cullen’s side prevailed 40-32 as the Irish province notched up five tries to secure the Guinness PRO14 crown against the defending champions.

Records tumbled in Dublin over the 80 minutes and as we catch our breath from last weekend’s action, here’s a look at best numbers behind the final.

Record numbers

The Guinness PRO14 has never been more popular and that was demonstrated in Saturday’s showpiece event.

A total of 46,092 headed through the gates at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin to watch the nine-try thriller as Leinster secured a historic double.

The fine figure eclipses last season’s record which saw 44,556 descend on the Irish capital as Scarlets downed Munster 46-22.

And the bumper crowd would not have been disappointed as last season’s champions and the European Champions Cup winners put on a final to remember.

Mr Consistency

Leinster ran in five tries at the Aviva Stadium and it was Sean Cronin’s second-half effort that made history.

A lovely kick from Jonathan Sexton allowed Leinster to set up a line-out right on the Scarlets five-metre line and from there Cronin did the rest as he darted over from close range.

That try was the Irish international’s third in Guinness PRO14 finals, the first player in history to achieve such a feat.

The 32-year-old crossed the whitewash for Leinster in the 2016 final in a 20-10 defeat to Connacht and in the 2012 final during a narrow 31-30 loss against Ospreys at the RDS Arena.

Hat-trick hero

Johnny McNicholl was desperately unlucky to finish on the losing side after a stellar performance in a Scarlets jersey.

The New Zealander pounced on a loose ball in the first half to score his first before showing great athleticism to fly over in the corner for a second.

With time ticking down, McNicholl was able to notch up a consolation score for Scarlets in a swift counter-attack.

That effort brought up a stunning hat-trick as the wing became the first player to score three tries in a Guinness PRO14 final.

Points galore

You couldn’t have asked for much more by way of entertainment as Leinster and Scarlets put on a combined 72 points for the 46,092 fans.

That tally eclipses the previous record of combined points in a final set last year when Scarlets and Munster put on 68 points as the Welsh region prevailed 46-22.

Last weekend’s contest also saw the highest number of tries scored in a final as the teams put on nine tries between them in a breathless 80 minutes.

Larmour’s legacy

Perhaps the try of the match fell to blossoming Ireland international Jordan Larmour as he chased down his own kick to score Leinster’s fourth of the afternoon.

Larmour blitzed away from the chasing defenders before producing a marvellous pick up to thunder over.

It was a special moment for the Irishman who at 20 years and 350 days old, became the youngest ever try scorer in a final.

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