As it happened: Munster v Leinster, RaboDirect Pro12

We went minute-by-minute as the Reds hosted the Blues in the top of the table Pro 12 clash

LEINSTER TRAVELED TO Limerick to take on arch-rivals Munster in a mouth-watering Rabo Direct Pro12 clash. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on all the action. E-mail, tweet @thescore_ie, post a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below. You may need to refresh the page for YouTube videos and other elements to display correctly.

Full-time: Munster 9-18 Leinster

Welcome along to our match coverage of Munster versus Leinster at Thomond Park. As always, we welcome your comments, predictions, lamentations and expressions of amazement.

Some grist for the mill – a match preview for you with comments from Leo Cullen and Simon Zebo

Here are the line-ups for this evening’s encounter:

MUNSTER – Felix Jones; Johne Murphy, Keith Earls, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo; Ronan O’Gara, Tomas O’Leary; Marcus Horan, Damien Varley, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mick O’Driscoll, Dave O’Callaghan, Peter O’Mahony, James Coughlan.

LEINSTER – Rob Kearney, Isa Nacewa, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonny Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Brad Thorn, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip

The RTÉ panel are discussing the sense, or lack of it, in Luke Fitzgerald’s wages being revealed – apparently the winger is being offered a two-year deal at €200,000 a year. Not a wise disclosure, according to Donal Lenihan.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt says he is looking forward to the challenge of tonight’s match and he was not too unhappy to lose to Ospreys last week. He commented:

In a way, it got a monkey off our back that was starting to gather a life of its own.

Nothing further revealed about where this monkey is now.

Further discussions by the panel on the favourite to take over from Tony McGahan. The battle, according to Lenihan, will be between former All Black John Kirwan and Anthony Foley as Wayne Smith looks likely to be signed up for a prominent role under new English coach Stuart Lancaster.

Paul O’Connell joshing about in the stands – the lock returns to Munster training next week. He is joined by Conor Murray, who is also coming back to fitness. David Wallace’s presence will be missed but Peter O’Mahony’s battle with Shane Jennings will be interesting.

The panel predicts Leinster to beat Munster three to nil.

Still time for you to make a final scoreline prediction …

Here we go. Sexton kicks off and Zebo chips back to Rob Kearney. Leinster on the attack early doors.

Leinster denied a score on two minutes as Rob Kearney knocks on with the line beckoning. A smart chip over the top from Sexton but Kearney couldn’t gather the ball as he raced towards the lefthand corner. Scrum Munster

LEINSTER 3-0 MUNSTER – Mike Ross comes back strongly after losing out in the first scrum. Good Leinster pressure on the next scrum sees Munster penalised and Jonny Sexton dissects the posts

But Ross is the culprit next time around as Marcus Horan gets the better of him and forces him downwards. O’Gara’s penalty strikes the post and is gathered by Jamie Heaslip. Rob Kearney claims a Felix Jones high ball and has to kick clear moments later after a Simon Zebo kick and chase.

Referee Nigel Owens is giving scrum lessons out there as another set-piece is re-set. Ross is lucky that Horan is in Owens’ bad books as he gets planted on the turf again.

Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll test the Munster defence before BJ Botha does well to turn the ball over from a hotly contested ruck. Super break from Luke Fitzgerald before Munster go off their feet and Sexton sets Leinster up for a line-out 40 metres from the home side’s tryline.

Early action at Thomond Park as Keith Earls spoils Luke Fitzgerald’s party. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

MUNSTER 3-3 LEINSTER – Sean Cronin concedes a penalty for going off his feet and O’Gara slots over from the right-hand flank. The out-half tried an unsuccessful drop goal when Munster had the advantage but made no mistake with the penalty.

MUNSTER 3-6 LEINSTER – Munster pinged less than a minute after drawing level. Mick O’Driscoll doesn’t roll away as Peter O’Mahony scrambles for the ball. Simple penalty from 30 metres out and Sexton converts.

MUNSTER 3-9 LEINSTER – Marcus Horan warned for the third time as Ross wrests him to the ground. Sexton chips over a care-free penalty from inside the Munster ’22.

Gordon D’Arcy’s 200th match for Leinster lasts all of 33 minutes as he receives a knock and leaves the field. He is replaced by Fergus McFadden.

Bite my tongue. D’Arcy was only off as a blood injury. He is back on the field and Munster are pushing for a late score. Kearney clears after a turnover.


RTÉ’s Ryle Nugent is not happy with what he has seen thus far. Varley is struggling to find his line-out jumpers and the front-rows on both sides are getting royal dressings down from Nigel Owens.

Leinster’s backs surfaced in the last few minutes of the half and one can only hope that play opens up after the break.

MUNSTER 6-9 LEINSTER – O’Gara gets a chance to bisect the posts, and he does, after Strauss is penalised this time.

Yellow cards for Ross and Horan and replacement props du Preez and Hagan get their chance for a Nigel Owens’ scrum lesson

O’Gara misses a penalty that would have tied the scores.

Mick Sherry comes on for Varley after another wild throw misses the entire line-out. Leinster briefly threaten but Fitzgerald knocks on.  From the scrum, Sherry, du Preez and Sherry bulldoze the Leinster pack.

Brad Thorn is then blown up for a high tackle on Felix Jones. Penalty Munster.

O’Gara misses a penalty that would have tied the scores.

Mick Sherry comes on for Varley after another wild throw misses the entire line-out. Leinster briefly threaten but Fitzgerald knocks on.  From the scrum, Sherry, du Preez and Sherry bulldoze the Leinster pack.

Brad Thorn is then blown up for a high tackle on Felix Jones. Penalty Munster.

MUNSTER 9-9 LEINSTER – O’Gara slots over the penalty. Leinster bring Cullen and Healy on for Thon and van der Merwe

Fantastic chip and chase by Nacewa but he is just held up a metre short of the line. He is isolated so Munster retrieve the ball and clear. Sean O’Brien now on for Kevin McLaughlin.

Sexton then scythes into the Munster ’22 and Mick O’Driscoll is penalised again for not rolling away.

MUNSTER 9-12 LEINSTER - Sexton nails the kick from 15 metres out.

Ian Madigan and Isaac Boss on for Sexton and a bloodied Eoin Reddan. Leinster starting to put the squeeze on Munster and Isa Nacewa makes another threatening break.

Fergus McFadden comes on for D’Arcy and Tomas O’Leary is off for Duncan Williams. Keith Earls looks banged up and is eventually called ashore for Danny Barnes.

Scrum-watch: Nigel Owens said “very nice” on the initial engagement but blows the whistle. Maybe he wants a change of career and is thinking of applying for the IRFU scrum coach job …

MUNSTER 9-15 LEINSTER – McFadden gets the kicking tee after Munster concede a penalty on their 22-metre line. He converts it and there is a six point gap with 10 minutes on the clock.

Brian O’Driscoll is tackled ferociously by Munster’s BJ Botha. ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

MUNSTER 9-18 LEINSTER – Ian Madigan finds the charging Nacewa who is hauled down inside the Munster ’22. Cian Healy picks and drives and Owens gives advantage to the visitors. Madigan drops back and lands an impressive drop goal.

Time is running out for Munster with Danny Barnes trying to coax his colleagues forward. Luke Fitzgerald knocks on again and the home side get another chance to claw points back.

Simon Zebo then throws the ball over the touchline to give Richardt Strauss a line-out throw.

RTÉ’s Ralph Keyes names Isa Nacewa as his man of the match. It is hard to argue with that choice.

FULL-TIME: MUNSTER 9-18 LEINSTER – Madigan secures possession off the line-out and punts the ball out. Game over and the league leaders with a comfortable win. If only it was comfortable to watch. Far too many penalties conceded.

Stick around for a post-match comment or three …

Rugby World Magazine are reporting on Twitter that Wales international Gavin Henson has been suspended ‘with immediate effect for an alleged incident on a flight back from Glasgow’. Insufficient peanuts or hair gel mockery – your guess is as good as mine. But please, guess away.

Man of the Match Isa Nacewa: “Coming off the loss against Ospreys, the win is a big boost as we look forward to next week’s quarter final.”

Brent Pope and George Hook are waxing lyrical about Ian Madigan as an out-half of the future for Ireland. Hook predicts that O’Gara has ‘a season or two left’ and Pope suggests Madigan could move down to Munster to ensure more playing time. Not sure what Ian Keatley would think about that.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt believes Mike Ross was harshly treated at the scrum. He commented:

The penalties did not allow us to use our scrum as a platform. There has to be a closer look at what the props are doing.

Munster forwards coach said, “It is very disappointing. We all feel very flat after that. The reality is that it could have been more than that. The scoreline flattered us at the end. We have a lot of soul searching to do before next weekend. If we play like that (again) we’ll be going nowhere.”

Done and dusted at Thomond Park. No massive favours done to the game of rugby tonight but Leinster will, of course, be the happier.

Thank you very much for keeping me company. Keep the comments and insights coming as we roll into April Fool’s Day.

Who’s the boss? Leinster seek to assert themselves on unwelcome territory

Munster ‘can’t afford’ to lose: here’s what the experts think ahead of tonight’s big game

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