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Munster's mistakes, the Ringrose-Henshaw partnership and more talking points

It wasn’t the thrilling encounter we hoped for but this was another typically intense affair between the two provinces.

LEINSTER EARNED DERBY bragging rights this afternoon as they strolled to a 25-14 victory over Munster at the Aviva Stadium. 

1. Munster’s mistakes prove costly

Jack O'Donoghue dejected after the game Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

In his post-match press conference, Rassie Erasmus admitted that his side didn’t stand up and perform on a stage they should be ‘privileged’ to be playing on.

If the Munster Director of Rugby wasn’t quite aware of the size of the task facing him at the province, he must surely be now after a chastening afternoon at the Aviva Stadium.

It wasn’t so much the defeat, but the manner of it, which is most disappointing for Munster and their supporters.

A string of basic individual errors proved so costly and although the visitors can feel they were on the end of a poor refereeing call for Isa Nacewa’s second try, there really can’t be many complaints.

With a trip to Racing 92 next up, things don’t get much easier for the southern province and they’ll need to work hard over the week to rectify the mistakes which undermined their effort today.

2. Ringrose and Henshaw sparkle

Robbie Henshaw Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

With Joe Schmidt watching on from the stands, Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw’s centre partnership clicked almost instantly as they demonstrated the devastating potential they possess as a pair.

Ringrose was the standout performer, producing moments of brilliance throughout while Henshaw stood up physically in midfield and was singled out for praise by Leo Cullen afterwards.

Leinster fans would have waited a long time to see their new signing in blue and he didn’t disappoint with an abrasive showing and one which underlines his growing maturity in the role.

Ringrose, meanwhile, had the 40,527 inside the Aviva Stadium off their seats on numerous occasions with his show-and-go in the early exchanges exposing Munster’s vulnerable defence.

The one blot on his copybook was the uncharacteristic handling error which cost him a first try of the season but nonetheless this was a hugely encouraging afternoon for both.

3. Has this fixture lost its spark?

Isa Nacewa scores his sides third try despite Darren Sweetnam Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The attendance would suggest otherwise but as an occasion, and match, this one failed to live up to expectations. There was hope that the renewal of this rivalry would reignite the fixture but it flattered to deceive in more ways than one.

It was intensely physical, no doubt, but that doesn’t always lend itself to a decent spectacle and not every fan will appreciate the intricacies of the breakdown and the big hits.

With both sides brimming with international quality, the number of unforced errors was high and it proved to be a stop-start encounter which drained any atmosphere from inside Lansdowne Road.

It was not a classic by any means, nor did the entertainment live up to the billing but perhaps we just have to recognise the fact that these two sides aren’t at the level they used to be.

The thrilling contests of yesteryear feel a long way off now with Leinster earning bragging rights for the third consecutive renewal in, quite frankly, underwhelming fashion.

Not to take anything away from Cullen’s men — they got the job done with a solid defensive and clinical attacking showing — but for the neutral this fixture is further losing its appeal with each passing game.

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Nacewa’s double hands Leinster the interpro bragging rights over abject Munster

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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