Pro 14: Leinster v Munster

A full house is expected at the Aviva Stadium for the first meeting of the season between the sides

John O'Sullivan Sat, Oct 7
LIVE: Pro 14: Leinster v Munster

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  • Welcome to the Irish Times live blog. Leinster v Munster at the Aviva stadium. Two tribes......well we'll see. John O'Sullivan here and I'll be taking you through the action.

    The teams.

    LEINSTER: J Carbery; A Byrne, R O’Loughlin, R Henshaw, B Daly; J Sexton (capt), L McGrath; J McGrath, J Tracy, T Furlong, D Toner, S Fardy, R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan. Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, M Bent, R Molony, J Murphy, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, F McFadden.

    MUNSTER: JJ Hanrahan; A Conway, C Farrell, T Bleyendaal, K Earls; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan, R Copeland, B Holland, P O’Mahony (capt), T O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: R Marshall, L O’Connor, S Archer, M Flanagan, J O’Donoghue, D Williams, R Scannell, A Wootton.

    Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
  • CJ Stander will make his 100th appearance for Munster this afternoon in what should prove a tasty backrow battle, both on the day and in offering a perspective on Ireland's upcoming November tests.
  • Okay some light reading ahead of the game. Gerry Thornley previews the match here.
  • The teams are on the pitch and going through their final warm-up. The weather is overcast and there's a strong breeze blowing in from the Havelock Square end.  
  • Leinster wing Adam Byrne is relishing today's encounter. He had his say here.
  • Robbie Henshaw returns to the Leinster team 12 months after making his debut for the province against the same opposition.  
  • Some mood music.
  • Leinster won the corresponding fixture last season 25-14 but retain only seven players today from that game while Munster have slightly more in nine players.  
  • Even those in Wales are looking forward to this match.  
  • There's always time to catch up.  
  • Munster have gone in. Leinster still hitting the pads.  
  • There's six minutes to kickoff.  
  • I'd say the stadium is currently about 20 per cent full.  
  • Munster are out, just waiting on their hosts.  
  • Ready to go. Ian Keatley to get the game under way.  
  • Jack Conan takes the kickoff, Luke McGrath boxkicks, Adam Byrne regains it, McGrath box-kicks again and Andrew Conway knocks it into touch.  
  • Munster get a free-kick from the lineout. Tap and go. Leinster counter-ruck successfully but Devin Toner knock-on in attempting to scoop up the ball.  
  • Super passage of play from Munster and great feet Conway but as they go back, Sexton makes a super read defensively and forces Niall Scannell to hurry his pass which goes to ground. The home side win a penalty and it's a slick move from the ensuing lineout that allows Barry Daly over the gain-line but the move peters out in the Munster 22 when Rory O'Loughlin knocks on Henshaw's pass.  
  • Toner takes lineout on the Munster 22, driven initially, one out runner and then Sexton with a cross-kick for Adam Byrne. Both Byrne and Earls miss it and it goes into touch. Munster clear but Leinster have the ball again. Sexton opts for another cross-kick. Leinster have a height advantage out wide and they're determined to use it.  
  • 10 mins: Munster win a scrum penalty just inside their 22.  
  • Keatley doesn't find touch and Carbery's up and under is brilliantly taken by Byrne in the air. O'Loughlin loses it in the air.  
  • Bizarre. Earls scores what he thinks is a Munster try but Chris Farrell's pass was a mile forward and there was blocking. Referee Ben Whitehouse gave the try. Sexton complained. Whitehouse wasn't listening and then the TMO Jon Mason obviously told the Welsh referee that the ball left Farrell's hands in Dublin and landed in Kildare. Justice done but what a break from Earls.  
  • TRY: O'Loughlin. Brilliant carry from Ruddock in the build-up, gives Leinster front foot ball in the 22. O'Loughlin spins out of John Ryan's tackle, takes another from Stander and reaches out backwards over the line. Super piece of individual play from the young centre. Sexton converts.

    18 mins: Leinster 7 Munster 0

  • Leinster on counterattack and Niall Scannell sticks out a hand to intercept a pass from Henshaw to Furlong. TMO has a look and reports back that it is a yellow card. Letter of the law.  

    20 mins: Yellow card, Niall Scannell (Munster)

  • Munster have conceded three penalties in as many minutes and from the latest Leinster have a lineout eight metres from the visitors' line.  
  • Frenetic passage of play. A Leinster attack breaks up in the Munster 22, Earls is so quick onto the loose ball and as he accelerates away it takes a brilliant tackle from Carbery stops him going 80-metres. Toner intercepts a pass but Munster reclaim possession and then Conway wins an aerial duel with Daly.  
  • After that breathless passage of play, Sexton is down receiving attention.  
  • Leinster will have a lineout on their 22, which Toner takes. They drives it five metres and Munster are penalised for taking it down.  
  • You can quibble about the quality of fare at times but not the excitement.
  • Right on cue.  

    TRY: Ian Keatley. More fumbling in the Leinster midfield and Sexton's intended pass is picked off smartly by Keatley who races 45 metres and score under the posts. He adds the conversion.

    27 mins: Leinster 7 Munster 7

  • That's been coming. Leinster have fumbled and foostered a fair bit so far and they've been lucky on a couple of occasions.

    With Scannell in the sin bin, Rhys Marshall is a temporary replacement for Tommy O'Donnell as Munster get a scrum put-in from the re-start.  

  • Munster have looked pretty comfortable in defence as Leinster's attacking gambits have lacked a little composure and accuracy for the most part. Niall Scannell and O'Donnell return. Munster won his sin bin period 7-0.  
  • Leinster on their eighth phase and they kick, rescued brilliantly again in the air by a wonderful Byrne take.  
  • Another cross-kick, another Byrne aerial victory.  
  • TRY: O'Loughlin. All stems from Byrne's aerial win. Leinster win ball, Sexton wraps around Furlong, Carbery runs a great line and his timing onto the ball is perfect, and he slices through before giving O'Loughlin the run-in. Sexton converts.  

    34 mins: Leinster 14 Munster 7

  • Brilliant work from Sexton and then Henshaw at two breakdowns forces a turnover penalty.  
  • Carbery did well to bring down Conway after Farrell's long cut out pass. It's something that Munster have tried a couple of times to get their wingers one-on-one with the Leinster fullback.  
  • Great cross-field kick from Keatley deep into Leinster 22 but there isn't enough time for the lineout.  

    Half-time: Leinster 14 Munster 7

  • The official attendance is 46, 374. Em............  
  • It was a curious half. Leinster dominated possession but for the most part Munster were comfortable in defence and when they did inject greater line speed forced the home side into some uncharacteristic fumbles that led to Keatley's try; it could have been more.  
  • Sexton's use of the cross-kick was obviously pre-planned and Byrne had a stunning half with his aerial prowess and in fairness footwork.  
  • Munster have lived off scraps but their attacking gambits are quite plain too, looking to isolate Carbery one-on-one with either Conway or Earls.  
  • Farrell's pass to Earls was forward but it should have served as a warning to Leinster that they'll need to hustle wide in defence. Munster's scrum has been excellent and won a penalty while Leinster have used their lineout to to carve out metres and also force penalties in suckering in the visitors to collapsing.  
  • Munster's backrow has largely been employed in a defensive capacity and they'll be looking to get Stander on the ball more.  
  • Munster need more possession, Leinster must use theirs more accurately. There are more tries in this match.  
  • There are no changes to either side for the second half.  
  • Hanrahan knocks on the re-start.  
  • Briliant take by O'Loughlin from McGrath's high pass.  
  • Daly chips and chases in the Munster 22 but the visitors regain possession and clear, only to Daly again who takes play back into the Munster 22.  
  • High tackle by Farrell on Carbery gives Leinster a penalty 20 metres out and Sexton points to the posts.  

    43 mins: Sexton penalty, Leinster 17 Munster 7

  • That penalty makes Sexton the all-time leading points scorer for Leinster eclipsing the mark of his predecessor Felipe Contepomi.  
  • 45 mins: Munster replacements Alex Wootton for Keatley and Stephen Archer for Ryan.  
  • That'll mean Bleyendaal to outhalf, Hanrahan to centre, Conway to fullback and Wootton on the wing I think.  
  • Earls try. It's amazing what a loose tap back at a lineout will do to defenders. Munster just about win theirs and O'Donnell tidies up, looks up, sees no one in front races 45 metres and then links with Earls who squeezes into the corner despite Byrne's despairing tackle, a fact confirmed by the TMO, Mason. Hanrahan misses the touchline conversion. Superb opportunism but shocking concentration from Leinster.

    48 mins: Leinster 17 Munster 12

  • 48 mins: Leinster replacements Cian Healy for McGrath, Sean Cronin for Tracy and Michael Bent for Furlong.  
  • Leinster win a scrum penalty on the Munster 22. One for the new frontrow.  
  • Sexton points to the posts.  
  • PENALTY: Sexton. The Leinster and Ireland outhalf is unerring from 22 metres.

    51 mins: Leinster 20 Munster 12

  • There's something in this for Munster if they can just get some ball. Some Leinster players looking a little leggy and the home side's defence has shown a few doglegs at times.  
  • Just as I say that Munster concede another penalty, Niall Scannell not releasing this time. Sexton will take it on from the Munster 10-metre line.  
  • PENALTY: Sexton. Superb strike, from fully 45 metres.  

    54 mins: Leinster 23 Munster 12

  • Clever kick through by Bleyendaal and McGrath forced into a banana kick with no space, Munster lineout 35 metres out.  
  • Fardy penalised not releasing in the tackle and Munster go to the corner. They'll have a lineout about seven metres out.  
  • Penalty to Munster coming up. In from side.  
  • Another Munster penalty. They go to corner. Big moment in the game. A Munster try would put the game back into the melting pot.  
  • Leinster defend the maul and get a scrum turnover.  
  • Leinster scrum five metres from their line. Henshaw takes it up. McGrath's line kick gets his side about 38 metres further up the pitch. Neatly done.  
  • 61 mins: Leinster replacements Jordi Murphy for Ruddock and Jamison Gibson Park for McGrath.  
  • Another Leinster handling error this time a forward pass but within 60-seconds Munster do the same.  
  • 63 mins: Munster replacement Jack O'Donoghue for O'Donnell. Two of the game's better players Ruddock and O'Donnell are now on the sideline.  
  • Leinster six metres from the Munster line but again Leinster force a pass and it's knocked on when they really should have scored. O'Loughlin with the knock-on.  

    65 mins: Rory Scannell for Bleyendaal.  

  • 66 mins: Munster replacements Liam O'Connor for Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall for N Scannell.  
  • Sexton cross-kicks out on the full.  
  • 68 mins: Munster replacement Mark Flanagan for Copeland. Leinster replacement Ross Molony for Fardy.  
  • Good smother tackle from Daly wins a scrum turnover.  
  • Hanrahan wins the race to a chip through just ahead of Daly to save Leinster try scoring opportunity.  
  • 72 mins: Leinster replacement Fergus McFadden for Daly. Munster replacement Duncan Williams for Murray.  
  • Ruddock back on as van der Flier goes for blood/HIA
  • The game has descended into an error ridden morass.  
  • Five minutes to go and there are a lot of tired looking players.  
  • Replay of the Farrell 'tackle' on Henshaw. It was a shoulder charge pure and simple and deserved a card.  
  • Good break from Wootton Munster go through a couple of phases but throw the ball into touch.  

    Ross Byrne on for Sexton.  

  • Sexton gets man of the match.  
  • And Munster get a second Earls try.

    TRY: Earls. Hanrahan misses conversion. Superbly constructed try. Good hands Hanrahan and Conway after the forwards had given them some momentum.

    79 mins: Leinster 23 Munster 17

  • Last minute Munster have possession in their 22.  
  • Full-time: Leinster 23 Munster 17
  • A topsy turvy contest. Munster outscored Leinster by three tries to two in a match in which Leinster dominated possession and territory.  
  • But the home side were very wasteful and at times inaccurate and their failure to punish Munster on the scoreboard meant that Rassie Eramus side leave Dublin with a bonus point, something they won't be too unhappy about on the basis of the 80 minutes.  
  • Leinster's defence will be a concern going into the Champions Cup in terms of the nature of the tries they conceded, concentration and communication definitely an issue. For all the hom side's dominance of possession, Munster defence coach Jacques Nienaber will be reasonably happy with his side's structure and discipline.  
  • Gerry Thornley's match report will be up on the website soon. He'll be putting some manners on what happened.  
  • In summation Leinster will be happy they won, how well the lineout and maul functioned and one or two moments of clarity in attack. Munster will take some satisfaction in coming away with a bonus point but scope for improvement is significant if both sides are to get next week's Champions Cup off to a good start.  
  • Earls performance was razor sharp, a stand out for his team and fully deserving his two tries. He was the best back on show.  
  • Thank you for your company and comments.