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Robust Munster ease to victory over old rivals

Leinster 3, Munster 27
AN impressive display of 15-man rugby saw Munster break the hoodoo tonight in the RDS, carving out a deserved victory over a Leinster side that fought bravely but paid the price of fielding a weakened team. Johann van Graan’s side fired on all cylinders over the 80 minutes and their only regret may be that they missed the chance of coming away with a winning bonus point.
This display firmly puts the disappointment of their recent defeats behind therm. Munster looked hungry from the start, their physicality causing their opponents continuous problems and if they can continue this high standard during the rest of the Rainbow Cup, they will be very hard to beat. Del Allende, Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander and Jack O’Donoghue were superb in the crucial opening stages and while Leinster defended bravely, the southern province never looked like losing this game.
It was all Munster in the opening half and they could well have led by more than 10-3 at the break. Referee Busby was kept busy and Stephen Archer was shown yellow on 34 minutes with Jack O’Donoghue lucky to get away with just a penalty against him after charging into a ruck, A beautifully worked try saw Munster take the lead after four minutes, Damian del Allende bursting clear and timing his pass well for Conor Murray to go over near the posts. Joey Carbery converted. Short a lot of their regulars Leinster were dealt a further blow when out-half Harry Byrne had to retire with an injury after six minutes. His replacement David Hackshaw was quickly into the action, landing a penalty to put his side on the scoreboard at 3-7. The same player missed a chance to reduce the lead to four points before half-time when he struck a kickable penalty left and wide.
A Carbery penalty saw Munster lead 3-10 at the break and even at that stage it was clear that there was only going to be one winner unless Leinster could find a way in the second half to breach the visitors’ defence. Carbery’s third success at the posts edged Munster 3-13 in front after 52 minutes and with the Reds dominant all over the field Munster added a further 14 points in the last quarter. Conor Murray dived over a few bodies on the Leinster line after fierce pressure from the Munster pack, Carbery again converting with 61 minutes played.
It was to be Munster’s night after a lengthy drought at this venue and they increased their lead to 3-27 eight minutes before the end when referee Chris Busby awarded a penalty try.
There was some controversy at the end of this derby game with Munster claiming that they were now allowed to avail of a final play as they came in search of a fourth bonus point score. A few words between referee Busby and CJ Stander ended with the official saying: “Let’s agree to disagree.”
Leinster: Jordan Larmour, Dave Kearney, Garry Ringrose (CAPT), Rory O’Loughlin, James Lowe, Harry Byrne; Hugh O’Sullivan, Ed Byrne, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, James Ryan, Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Caelan Doris
Replacements: Seán Cronin, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Scott Fardy, Cormac Foley, Ciarán Frawley,Tommy O’Brien.
Munster: Mike Haley; Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (CAPT), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Keynan Knox, Fineen Wycherley, Gavin Coombes, Craig Casey, Ben Healy, Calvin Nash.
Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU, 8th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher, Eoghan Cross (both IRFU)
TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)

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