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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 21 February, 2020
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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Guinness Pro14 inter-provincial derby between Munster and Leinster at Thomond Park.

This game was one of the most enjoyable fixtures of last season with plenty of big talking points. Remember Johnny Sexton being dumped into the turf by Fineen Wycherley? James Lowe’s red card? The apparent bit of bite between Sexton and Munster’s Joey Carbery? And then there was the actual rugby itself!

There’s plenty of different faces on the pitch this time around but hopefully we get another exciting game. The big news from a Leinster point of view is that Jamison Gibson-Park is a late withdrawal from the team with illness, so Rowan Osborne comes in to make his first start for the province.

For Munster, the sight of Carbery on the bench is a welcome boost, and we should get to see him make his first appearance in red of the season. 

We’re set to get underway in Limerick at 6pm, so we’ll be back a little closer to then as Leinster look to keep up their perfect start to the season at the home of their fiercest rivals.

We’re just minutes away from kick-off now. Looking back to that fiery Munster win this time last year, Leo Cullen said in his pre-match interview that he hopes Leinster have learned how to deal with those pressure situations better. It’ll be interesting to see if Munster try to get under the visitors’ skin again. We’re also looking forward to seeing how some of the younger players handle to occasion.

It’s a massive night for Rowan Osborne, and he’ll need to settle in quickly on his first start for Leinster. A big night for his opposite number too, as Nick McCarthy faces his old team for the first time since making the switch to Munster. 

Lots of little battles to keep an eye on across the pitch. 

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KICK-OFF

We’re underway in Limerick as Ross Byrne gets things started. The crowd good and loud as the teams made their way out. Let’s home the game gives them plenty to shout about.

5mins

Munster setting the tempo so far. A nice offload from Mike Haley allowed Shane Daly to burst down the left wing but the attack eventually broke down. Jack O’Donoghue looks really hungry to get stuck in too. A promising start from the hosts.

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TRY!

Munster 0 Leinster 7

10mins

A lovely kick from Ross Byrne which bounces over the head of Mike Haley, and Munster have the lineout deep in their own half. They win the lineout but Nick McCarthy’s kick only reaches the Munster 22.

James Tracy finds Devin Toner from the lineout and Leinster maul forward.The ball breaks free and James Lowe carries right down the middle after some lovely quick passes before being brought to ground. The ball is recycled and Ed Byrne eventually powers over the line, and Ross Byrne adds the conversion. 

17mins

Munster 0 Leinster 7

More nice play from Leinster there as they dig out the wrap-around but the move breaks down as Adam Bryne fails to take gather a slightly loose pass on the wing. Munster seeing plenty of the ball but Leinster looking far more dangerous in possession so far.

20mins

Munster 0 Leinster 7

The wind is having a big say in this game. A handful of box-kicks have been totally misjudged by both sides, with a few even allowed to bounce. Another challenge for the two young scrum-halves to take into account.  

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PENALTY

Munster 0 Leinster 10

23mins

Ross Byrne extends Leinster’s lead after Chris Cloete is pinged for not releasing after stripping the ball off Scott Fardy. A straight-forward kick for the Leinster out-half.

29mins

A very cheap penalty for Leinster as Chris Cloete dumps Andrew Porter to the ground off the ball. That’s the second penalty conceded by the Munster flanker in the opening 30 mins. 

TURNOVER

29mins

Excellent work by Jack O’Donoghue to turn the ball over as Leinster had the ball in a dangerous position, with James Lowe in acres of space and waiting for a pass. Super stuff by the Munster number eight. 

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PENALTY

Munster 0 Leinster 13

35mins

Another cheap penalty for the visitors following a lineout infringement. Ross Byrne nails the kick, and Leinster have a healthy lead now despite failing to create too many scoring opportunities. 

38mins

Boos ring around the stadium after Ross Byrne sees a kick blocked down by Nick McCarthy, but appears to block his former team-mate from chasing down the ball. A bit of a let-off there for Byrne, and the home crowd certainly didn’t like it.

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PENALTY

Munster 3 Leinster 13

40mins

JJ Hanrahan, who has had a quiet game so far, finally gets the home team on the scoreboard as he nails his kick into the wind after Leinster are pinged at the breakdown, and that’s more or less the last action of the half.

Leinster will be happy enough with their lead but Munster will hope to show more going forward in the second half now that they have the wind behind them.

Here’s a look at that Ed Byrne try for Leinster. Some nice work by Leo Cullen’s team but Munster will be disappointed with their defence.

 

40Mins

Second-half is underway. No changes for either team.

46Mins

A real step up in the pace of Munster’s play since the break. Josh Murphy coughs up a penalty rather unfortunately, as he couldn’t really get out of the way, but it leaves JJ Hanrahan with the easiest of kicks to reel Leinster in a bit. 

52Mins

A breathless passage of play as Leinster bombard the Munster defence with phase after phase. A brilliant offload from Lowe on the left wing keeps the attack alive but some poor hands from Andrew Porter sees the ball spill free. Munster clear the danger and everyone catches their breath. 

56Mins

Munster use the wind well as Rory Scannell sends a booming kick all the way down towards the Leinster 22 from deep in Munster territory. Leinster will be disappointed not to have made more of their possession in the second half.

Munster are growing into the game now, and Joey Carbery comes on to make his first appearance of the season for Munster. This is set up nicely heading into the final 20 minutes.

66Mins

A superbly-executed kick from Carbery sends the ball right down into Leinster territory. 

Sean Cronin’s lineout finds Toner, and Neil Cronin’s kick eases the pressure on Leinster. It’s all a bit back and forward now with neither side looking overly dangerous, and the game is becoming increasingly scrappy as both head coaches empty their benches. 

70Mins

Munster pile the pressure on again but a loose pass gifts Leinster the ball. 

The home side need to start making more of their possession. Carbery has looked bright since coming in and Jack O’Donoghue is having a stormer, getting through a huge amount of work.

73Mins

Huge pressure from Munster right under the Leinster posts, but the visitors are able to hold firm and eventually push Munster back. Munster looking a little one-dimensional in their attack, and for all their endeavour Leinster haven’t looked too stretched. 

76Mins

So close. 

Munster maul from a lineout and are held up just short of the line. A huge two-man tackle from Will Connors and Sean Cronin sends Munster back. They regather and attack again, but a Scott Fardy produces a massive turnover which Leinster celebrate as if they had scored a try. 

Was that Munster’s chance?

77Mins

James Lowe loses possession sloppily to give Munster the ball again, but a Neil Cronin handling error ends the attack. It’s been a frantic end to this game.  

79Mins

One last chance.

Munster win possession and Carbery kicks to the corner, but they lose the lineout. 

Surely that was the last chance for the hosts.

Flag 80Mins

Full-time

Munster’s 21 game unbeaten run at Thomond Park comes to and end.

Well how about that for a finish?

Munster can only blame themselves really. Leinster defended well to hold out but Munster coughed up possession far too cheaply on a number of occasions in those last 15 minutes. Who would have predicted that we would only see one try? Still, a really enjoyable game to watch, and plenty for both teams to work on ahead of another round of Pro14 inter-pros next weekend. 

Thanks for joining us this evening. We’ll have a full report and reaction shortly. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. 

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