Leinster erased an early deficit to defeat Munster 27-25 in a high-quality PRO14 encounter in Dublin on Saturday.
With the result between the bitter rivals, Leinster solidifies their position at the summit of the Conference A standings, while Munster remain second in Conference B.
This was a high-quality, high-octane match right from the outset, with both sides playing excellently. And despite suffering an early injury setback, Munster stayed in the fight and in the contest until the end.
Springboks Damian de Allende and RG Snyman were on debut for the visiting Munster, but while the former played for the full 80 minutes, the latter had to be replaced as early as the seventh minute after a heavy fall at a lineout. Snyman was replaced by compatriot Jean Kleyn.
Be that as it may, the sides went blow for blow as they reached the 30-minute mark level at 10 all. Munster edged ahead with a second penalty, but when ill-discipline allowed Leinster an attacking lineout, the hosts made the most of the opportunity as Garry Ringrose scuttled over for the hosts’ second try and a four-point advantage at the break.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) August 22, 2020
The action morphed into the second half, but this time Leinster drew first blood when Johnny Sexton set James Lowe up for a touchdown. With 15 minutes to go and Leinster a man down, Munster finally responded through veteran Keith Earls.
Not taking kindly to their lead being cut down to four, Leinster nailed a penalty to make it a seven-point game again, but Munster would have the final say with another try from Andrew Conway to set up a grandstand finish.
The conversion, which would have tied the game, was off target and that ultimately proved the difference between victory for Leinster and defeat for Munster.
Leinster – Tries: Cian Healy, Garry Ringrose, James Lowe. Conversions: Johnny Sexton (3). Penalties: Sexton, Ross Byrne.
Munster – Tries: Andrew Conway (2), Keith Earls. Conversions: JJ Hanrahan (2). Penalties: Hanrahan (2).
Leinster – 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Ryan Baird, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Ronan Kelleher, 1 Cian Healy
Subs: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Will Connors, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Max Deegan.
Munster – 15 Shane Daly, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Keith Earls, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Billy Holland, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 James Cronin.
Subs: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Matt Gallagher.
Photo: Leinster Rugby/Twitter