Leinster v Munster

Leinster host their motivated old foes Munster in the Pro14 semi-final at the RDS

Eamon Donoghue Sat, May 19
LIVE: Leinster v Munster

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  • Hello and Welcome . . . The newly crowned European champions - for a fourth time - Leinster host their motivated old foes Munster in today's Pro14 semi-final at the RDS. And it's always edgy when these two meet!

    Can a much-changed Leinster team find the energy to come again, seven days after their heroics in Bilbao? Or can Munster salvage their season and go a step closer to their first piece of silverware since 2011?

    We'll have all of the action right here, so be sure to get in touch throughout. You can do that via either the comments section ('Contact Us' tab) or on Twitter (@DonoghueEamon).

    Let's get started!
  • Leinster v Munster, RDS,   Saturday, 3.15pm

    Referee:  Stuart Berry (SARU).

    Overall head to head:  Played 153, Leinster 95 wins, 11 draws, Munster 47 wins.

    Pro14 head-to-head:  Played 33, Leinster won 20, Munster won 13.

    Last three seasons:  (2015-16) Munster 7 Leinster 24, Leinster 16 Munster 13. (2016-17) Leinster 25 Munster 14, Munster 29 Leinster 17. (2017-18) Leinster 23 Munster 17, Munster 24 Leinster 34.  

    Leading points scorers:  Leinster – Ross Byrne 110. Munster – Ian Keatley 98, JJ Hanrahan 76.

    Leading try scorers:  Leinster – Barry Daly 12, Jordan Larmour, James Lowe, Rory O’Loughlin 7 each. Munster – Alex Wootton 8.  

    Betting  (Paddy Power): 3/10 Leinster, 17/1 Draw, 13/5 Munster. Handicap odds (Munster +8pts) 10/11 Leinster, 19/1 Draw, 10/11 Munster.

  • Team news:  

    Just one change for Munster from their quarter-final win, John Ryan comes in at tighthead.

    For Leinster Ross Byrne replaces the injured Johnny Sexton and Isa Nacewa switches to inside centre as Robbie Henshaw also misses out through injury. Joey Carbery comes in at fullback for Rob Kearney, James Lowe is back at left wing, Jack McGrath rotates with Cian Healy, while Rhys Ruddock and Jack Conan come into the backrow. Rob Kearney and Dan Leavy are rested, as is Scott Fardy who is on the bench.

    LEINSTER:  Joey Carbery;  Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa (capt), James Lowe; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Seán Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, James Ryan; Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.

    Replacements:  James Tracy, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Rory O’Loughlin, Barry Daly.

    MUNSTER:  Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (capt), Jack O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.

    Replacements:  Niall Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne, Ciaran Parker, Gerbrandt Grobler, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Darren Sweetnam.  

  • "The RDS factor and Leinster’s strength in depth does entitle them to be marginal favourites. But in a one-off meeting, Munster are always capable of winning. It could hardly be set up more intriguingly."

    Gerry Thornley is predicting a Leinster win - read his preview in full here.  

  • For Munster to prevail they will need to emotionally drain Leinster. Liam Toland explained Leinster's main concern in his  column on Friday;

    "Emotional fatigue is now a real danger to Leinster. Munster need to create some emotional doubt. All week Leinster will, I'm sure, be focusing on this issue. How to get themselves back up for the onslaught coming from Munster."

    While Gordon D'Arcy writes in his column  that; "The cultural dynamic in Leinster means there is an expectation on the hybrid side that faces Munster to deliver."

  • Leinster 0 Munster 0 (1') Jack Conan gathers JJ Hanrahan's kick-off and we are underway! Surely Munster can conjure something up here against this makeshift Leinster team, with no Sexton pulling the strings. I'm predicting a Munster win.
  • Leinster 0 Munster 0 (2') First lineout of the game is a Leinster one just outside of their 22. Easily gathered and they win a penalty as Peter O'Mahony comes in from the side.
  • Leinster 0 Munster 0 (4')  Ross Byrne kicks the resultant penalty to halfway but Munster steal the lineout - via O'Mahony - and they go through the phases to move just outside the Leinster 22.
  • Leinster 0 Munster 0 (5')  A loose pass followed by a scrappy kick from Rory Scannell and Leinster turn it over. Wasted opportunity by Munster. It's cleared and gathered by Simon Zebo so Munster have it again on halfway
  • Leinster 7 Munster 0 (8')  Leinster win the turnover at the ruck. And their first meaningful attack results in a try. James Lowe makes a big break out on the left wing, offloads in the tackle. It's recycled and he gathers and breaks again, offload this time to Jack Conan and the big Leinster eight touches down. Carbery converts.  
  • Leinster 7 Munster 0 (10')  James Ryan makes a strong break out of his defence but Keith Earls does excellently to force the turnover as the Leinster lock holds on as the support does not come.
  • Robin Copeland on for Jack O'Donoghue who injured himself making a tackle
  • Leinster 7 Munster 0 (13')  Munster look menacing off the lineout but Zebo's pass out wide to Conway is a forward one. Another wasted opportunity.
  • Leinster 7 Munster 0 (13')  Keith Earls slips out wide allowing Leinster to make ground off the scrum. JJ Hanrahan makes a crucial tackle. Munster clear and Leinster come again but CJ Stander comes in and forces the penalty as Conan holds on.
  • Leinster 7 Munster 3 (18')  JJ Hanrahan kicks his first penalty of the game right between the posts. Leinster penalised for not releasing
  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (21')  From the restart Leinster power through the phases again, with James Ryan and Garry Ringrose making yards. Munster are pinged at the breakdown and Ross Byrne squeezes the penalty over.
  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (24')  What a tackle from Sammy Arnold. Leinster look certain to score a try as Larmour frees Lowe up (all off quality lineout ball) but Arnold does so well with a last ditch tackle in the corner
  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (26')  Conor Murray's clearance doesn't go all that far, but the follow up Leinster attack is ended via a Sean Cronin knock-on.  

    Munster turn the screw at scrum time allowing Conor Murray to break away on the blindside, Conway keeps it alive but Zebo's pass in the corner has too much on it.

    It's back for the advantage from the initial scrum but Hanrahan's penalty from distance is missed.

  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (31')  Munster's lineout maul brings them to halfway after a menacing Leinster attack ends with Larmour running out of space.

  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (33')  Zebo's looping pass is rescued by Conway under pressure from Lowe, Keith Earls then steps his way into the Leinster 22 . . .  

  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (35')  Munster getting closer and closer as Conway almost finds a gap in the right corner. Then Stander is held up on the try line. TMO will have a look to make sure but that was a powerful Munster attack nonetheless

  • TMO spots a reckless clearout from Jean Kleyn on Ross Byrne. Yellow card and penalty for Leinster. Costly from the Munster secondrow
  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (37')  Munster turn Leinster over coming out of their 22 as Luke McGrath knocks on. But Rory Scannell tries to force it and his pass is forward.

    It's back for the knock on and Munster have possession after a solid scrum on the Leinster 22.  

  • Munster knock on as Garry Ringrose lines up Zebo at full tilt.
  • HT Leinster 10 Munster 3 Joey Carbery kicks into the stands and his team go in at half-time leading by seven points. Munster will play the first six minutes of the second half with 14 men and although their forwards have been slightly on top they've been error-ridden in the backline.

    A far more clinical Leinster look like scoring every time they go into the Munster 22 and only for Sammy Arnold's heroics in the corner and they'd be further ahead.

  • John Rogers There is no comedy quite like reading the whinging on the Munster fans forum right now. Crying about Leinster aggression. What happened to stand up and fight?
  • The teams are back out. Munster have had 57 per cent of the first half possession. They have brought Ian Keatley on for JJ Hanrahan hoping to do more with that
  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (35')  Ross Byrne gets the second half underway. They put Munster under pressure but Rory Scannell forces them way back with an excellent kick.

  • Leinster 10 Munster 3 (39')  Joey Carberry is turned over as he gathers a grubber kick. Munster have it just outside the Leinster 22.

  • Leinster 10 Munster 8 (43')  TRY Munster. Rhys Marshall makes a break. It's quickly worked out to Zebo who draws two men and leaves Earls one on one in the corner and the Irish winger touches down. That all came from Copeland's turnover.

    Keatley's conversion is missed

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (43')  Munster penalised for going offside and Ross Byrne extends the lead to five almost instantly

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (48')  Big moment. Garry Ringrose kicks into the corner, Zebo comes across and gathers it. Zebo diesn't fancy kicking on his right peg and as he comes back in Ringrose nails him and forces the turnover. Leinster go for the corner from the penalty.  

    Although, Munster turn it back over at lineout time

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (50')  James Ryan knocks on as Leinster were gathering momentum again on halfway. But Leinster turn the Munster scrum over. This is end to end stuff.

    Gerbrandt Gobler is on for Billy Holland  

  • Gerry wrixon Who scored Munster try?
  • (Keith Earls got the Munster try)
  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (52')  From the resultant penalty Ross Byrne's kick gets caught in the wind and it pulls wide of the posts.  

    Peter O'Mahony does excellently to dive on the restart and Munster have it just inside the Leinster half.

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (55')  Munster work it out to Zebo - via a long O'Mahony pass - who one on one with Larmour opts to chip and chase but the bounce doesn't go his way. Munster go over the top and Leinster are awarded a penalty.  

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (57')  Another Leinster penalty at scrum time. Two in a row. Carbery will line up this kick from halfway, hoping to extend the home team's lead to eight

  • His effort is short and wide and Conway gathers it and makes his way out to the 22. Keatley then clears  
  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (57')  Peter O'Mahony is having a massive second half. He wins the Leinster lineout

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (61')  James Lowe does very well within a few minutes of kick tennis, ending with a good Leinster lineout on halfway

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (62')  Excellent tackle from Keatley to halt Ringrose after he ran a super line, then Carbery's pass is behind Lowe and Zebo puts him out of touch just as he was entering the Munster 22

  • John Rogers And now Carbery's kicking is poor. If anything happens Sexton our World Cup hopes are finished.
  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (65')  Munster have possession just inside the Leinster half as we enter the final 15 minutes and they trail by five points

  • Another box kick from Conor Murray is easily dealt with, this time it's Ross Byrne who gathers but Luke McGrath's kick lands right infront of Zebo who eats up the ground and brings Munster back into Leinster territory
  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (68')  Cian Healy is offside and Munster have a penalty. After initially opting for the posts, Conor Murray says they've changed their mind and he kicks for the corner. Grobler has had a big impact since coming on

  • James Ryan puts the pressure on but Munster still have it and are inside the Leinster 22
  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (70')  Leinster turn it over at the breakdown. Excellent Leinster defence with James Tracy getting the back pats

  • Leinster 13 Munster 8 (73')  Lowe clears his lines. Murray gathers and passes it to Zebo, who steps and then passes out of touch. Another mistake from the Munster fullback  

  • Leinster 16 Munster 8 (75')  Leinster win the penalty they were looking for. Again it's at scrum time. Their third such in this second half. Carbery takes the kick . . .

    And from the right of the posts he floats it over.

  • Leinster 16 Munster 8 (77')  Luke McGrath is charged down by Murray as he looks to clear after Leinster gather the restart. But he picks it back up and gets it away second time of asking. Munster will need two scores in the remaining three minutes.

  • Leinster 16 Munster 8 (78')  Darren Sweetnam is on and he makes a break. Munster win a penalty under the posts. Murray taps and goes but they are held up. Referee asks the TMO to have a look

  • Grobler tried to touch the base of the post. And while the camera angle wasn't the clearest the TRY IS AWARDED
  • Leinster 16 Munster 15 (79')  Conversion chipped over and Munster will have one more chance

  • Stander claims deep in his 22 and Munster will look to run it out
  • Zebo breaks away and Earls' pass is cut out but Copeland dives on it to keep the attack going. Munster are into the Leinster half. What a finish we have here!
  • FT Leinster 16 Munster 15 Young Max Deegan, just off the bench makes the game-winning turnover. What a final two minutes

  • James Lowe (man of the match): "We celebrated last week as well as we could. But after that it was back to work on Monday.

    "It's been a very long season. Scarlets will have something they'll want to prove."

    Peter O'Mahony: "Fair play to Leinster. But look we left a couple of opportunities out there but I thought their defence was excellent and they deserved the win."

  • So that's that . . . Another semi-final defeat for Munster as Leinster again display their incredible strength in depth to reach the Pro14 final and beat their old foes minus so many of their key players.

    Gerry Thornely's match report and analysis from the RDS to follow. Until then, thanks for joining us.

    FT Leinster 16 Munster 15