Leinster endured a torturous 14-hour journey to Le Havre but it didn’t stop the four-time Heineken Champions Cup winners getting their European campaign off to a flying start with a stunning 42-10 success over rival heavyweights Racing 92.

The Irish province’s flight from Dublin on Friday was delayed and later diverted to Paris because of thick fog shrouding the airport.

An attempt to secure a bus to take them on the 145-mile road journey to their hotel was scrapped after more waiting and they commandeered a fleet of taxis, eventually arriving at their hotel at 11pm to be greeted by bitterly cold conditions.

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The Pool A fixture had been switched to Stade Oceane because of a music concert being staged this weekend at Racing’s usual Paris venue and it was the three-time beaten finalists who failed to deal with the alien environment during an error-strewn display.

They didn’t put concerted pressure on their opponents, who are unbeaten in this season’s United Rugby Championship, and fell apart in the second half to allow a delighted Leinster to depart with a precious bonus point after touching down six times.

Racing’s sole response came from speedster Christian Wade, the former England and Lions wing who was a Wasps favourite before trying his hand at American Football in the United States, in the dying minutes.

A ruthless Leinster had got off to a flying start with Ireland prop Andrew Porter driving over for a soft try with outside-half Ross Byrne, deputising for crocked star Johnny Sexton, converting.

Scotland star Finn Russell pulled back three points with a 42-metre penalty, which was awarded for a ruck offence, but soon afterwards Racing had hooker Camille Chat sin-binned for repeated breakdown infringements.

This 50:22 attempt from Finn Russell deserved more if not for an incredible fetch from James Lowe ?#R92vLEI | Credit: @btsportrugby pic.twitter.com/htA8LNuhud

— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 10, 2022

Leinster made their extra man count by going through the phases to create the space for unmarked hooker Dan Sheehan to cross, with Byrne expertly converting to give them an 11-point advantage.

It became 21-3 just before half-time with a complex handling movement culminating in an overhead pass from roving winger James Lowe putting skipper Garry Ringrose over with Byrne again adding the extra points.

Ringrose went close to another try early in the second half but a series of handling errors saw them fail to take advantage of territory and possession.

World player of the year Josh van der Flier eventually bagged Leinster’s fourth try after a tap penalty, Byrne again converting.

Ringrose then fed Ed Byrne to score, with Harry Byrne kicking the conversion, in the 70th minute before Wade went over and Russell added the extras.

Racing failed to fire in Le Havre but neutrals did get their ‘urrrggh’ moment care of messers Russell and Wade in the 74th minute ???#R92vLEI | Credit: @btsportrugbypic.twitter.com/ZGVOnoZCoi

— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 10, 2022

Good play from Ringrose then allowed van der Flier to add the final try, which was converted by Harry Byrne.

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