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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 28 May, 2020

Pro12: Four things we learned from this weekend's inter-pros

Friday night in Ravenhill was a procession, but tonight’s derby was anything but.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Technology can only take you so far

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got 40 cameras with 40 angles on an incident.

If a referee chooses not to be aided in his difficult line of work by the most valuable resource at his disposal, then we are at the mercy of mere mortals.

Leighton Hodges was well-placed for the incident when Keith Earls appeared to propel the ball straight up into the air to be grasped by Casey Laulala on his way over the line. But when Conor Murray scored his try, the touch judge was in an even better position, but could not decide that a clear and obvious try had been scored.

Last night we watched George Clancy deny Ulster two tries when it appeared a quick TMO would get the scoreboard moving. It didn’t affect that result, but as Munster would have been brought back to within two points, it may well have altered this one.

Munster are deadly serious

Munster were a breath of fresh air tonight.

That will be no surprise to regular viewers of Rob Penney’s side, but for the southern province to spin the ball wide and attack from deep in such a big game is brave and a huge positive for the new coach. Mike Sherry’s early burst down the left wing  was the result of an excellent move and was enough to prove he warranted selection over Damian Varley, who once again fell foul of the referee when he came on in the second half.

Though Leinster dominated much of the game through their superior back row, Munster’s more powerful bench made the final minutes very uncomfortable for the European Champions.

©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Friday was almost perfect for Ulster

It’s no mean feat to keep a professional side scoreless. The northern province never looked in danger of losing this encounter, not with John Afoa and the scrum so dominant.

Thanks to that rock solid foundation, the rest of their game barely needed to extend past second gear to secure all four points. A win with minimal effort, the perfect preparation for next week’s visit of Castres in the Heineken Cup.

Well, almost perfect. With their visitors looking so one-dimensional Anscombe will rue the missed opportunity for a bonus point. They will also face an anxious wait to see if their primary weapon, Nick Williams (pictured), will be fit for action in Europe. The big Kiwi left the field in real discomfort with ice pressed against his ribs.

From the outside it appears to be a similar injury to the one which sidelined Gordon D’Arcy this week. Leinster’s medical staff have made no mention of a return date for the centre, saying just that they are taking it ‘day by day’. Ulster will hope for a sooner recovery from their in-form wrecking ball.

Scrum-half is Ireland’s best-stocked position

Eoin Reddan and Conor Murray went toe-to-toe tonight with Murray sneaking a late score on the blind-side of an inattentive ruck and Reddan being named man of the match just seconds after he made 50 yards worth of try-line relief in the 79th minute..

In Ulster though, they have added another young ’9′ to light up Ravenhill of a Friday night. Paul Marshall will remain the primary understudy when Ruan Pienaar returns, but after last night’s cameo it is apparent that Michael Heaney can also play a big part this season.

A dummy, a twist and some lightening quick acceleration: Heaney’s snipe off the base of the late scrum broke the field wide open and allowed Paddy Wallace the space to execute the beautiful kick into the grasp of Tommy Bowe before Jared Payne off-loaded to Luke Marshall.

As it happened: Leinster v Munster, Pro12

VIDEO: ‘The West’s Awake’ goes behind the scenes at Connacht

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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