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Leinster scrape victory as Guinness PRO14 rugby returns to the Aviva

(Pictured, Jean Klein impressed when he came on tonight for Munster)

Guinness PRO14 Championship:
Leinster 27, Munster 25
THERE will be a lot of tired bodies in both camps after this latest clash of the Blues and the Reds. There was just two points between the sides at the final whistle but once again, Leinster took the bragging rights despite being without Devin Toner for ten minutes at a crucial period of the game. From a Munster point of view, Johaan van Graan will be very happy with what he saw. The de Allende and Chris Farrell partnership looks promising and there were many times during the game when Munster looked the better side.
Right from the start of this game the southern province showed intent. The new boys, de Allende and Snyman were prominent, the intensity of their attacks constantly put Leinster on the back foot and it was no surprise when the visitors went ahead with just twelve minutes played. Snyman had to retire with an knee injury on seven minutes and was joined by Kilcoyne with what looked like an ankle injury minutes later, replacements Loughman and Klein getting early calls from the bench. On 12 minutes Munster deservedly took the lead. Constant pressure near the Leinster line eventually paid off with JJ Hanrahan varying the attack and Andrew Conway haring in for a well-worked try which was converted by Hanrahan.
The long lay-off from action saw a fair share of errors from both side but it was Leinster who got the next score, their showing stubborn patience to move the Munster pack back a few crucial yards following a penalty lineout and Cian Healy got over for the touchdown. Jonathan Sexton landed the conversion to level the tie at 7-7 and he shared penalties with Hanrahan as the game went into the final ten minutes of the half. Another successful kick at the posts by JJ Hanrahan pushed Munstetr 10-13 in front on 35 minutes but Leinster got a timely boost before the break, Gary Ringrose going over despite the tackle of Tommy O’Donnell. Sexton added the conversion and the teams went in for the break with the home side leading 17-13.
The second half was exciting and as fiercely contested as the first and it was Leinster who got first blood of the second 40 minutes, James Lowe showing his burning pace to go over for a well taken try after second row Baird timed his final pass perfectly. Sexton’s conversion increased the Leinster lead to 24-13. As both sides emptied their bench Munster got a ray of hope. Devin Toner was sent to the bin after a lineout infringement and Munster set up an attack that ended with a brilliantly taken try by Keith Earls who through out-foxed three blue jerseys to ground the ball over the line and inches from the sideline. JJ Hanrahan kicked the extras and at 24-20 Munster were back in this derby game. Leinster replied with a penalty from Ross Byrne to put a converted try between the sides but once again Munster showed their grit and determination to set up a second try for Andrew Conway but this time Hanrahan was inches wide with the conversion attempt.
A misunderstanding saw the game end in timid fashion, Munster kicking the ball dead after winning possession from a lineout deep in their own territory.
Overall it was a disappointing result for Munster fans but the manner in which they kept the game alive with those two second half tries showed that this team has yet a lot to offer in the games ahead.
Leinster Rugby: Jordan Larmour; 14. Dave Kearney, 13. Garry Ringrose,12. Robbie Henshaw;
11. James Lowe; 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Luke McGrath; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Rónan Kelleher, 3. Andrew Porter; 4. Ryan Baird, 5. Scott Fardy; 6. Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, 8. Jack Conan. 16. Seán Cronin, 17. Ed Byrne, 18. Michael Bent, 19. Devin Toner, 20. Will Connors, 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, 23. Max Deegan.
Munster: Shane Daly; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; RG Snyman, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Rhys Marshall, , John Ryan, Jeremy Louughman, Jean Kleyn, Chris Cloete, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Matt Gallagher.
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)Munster
Next up for Munster in this Guinness PRO14 Round 15 will be a game against Connacht on Sunday, August 30..

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