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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 22 October 2020

Munster left to lament missed chances against Leinster

Munster successfully knocked the champions out of their rhythm, but were unable to capitalise.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ANOTHER SEMI-FINAL loss, another one to Leinster too.

For Munster, this sting must still feel like new venom because this one felt like a let-off for Leo Cullen’s reigning champions.

Munster dragged them to a near stalemate only to stutter when the moment came to close in and close up the gap on the scoreboard.

JJ Hanrahan kicked Munster into the lead in the fifth minute, but the out-half was guilty of at least one glaring miss in the second half when the southern province had created opportunities to reduce the deficit from 10-3 to something that might have made Leinster a little more uncertain about their winning streak.

“They were crucial,” head coach Johann van Graan said of Hanrahan’s two missed penalties in the second half. There was no avoiding that fact, but the South African added that the club takes the misses as a group.

“You get limited opportunities in a semi-final and we didn’t convert our opportunities. We as a group, we win and lose together. So we take the penalties as a group.

We built a lot of pressure between the 50th and 65th minute. We didn’t convert those chances and Leinster went down the other end and went up 13-3.”

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As is their wont.

Striking a telling blow after struggling to withstand Munster pressure just about summed up Leinster’s night when a greasy ball made for a dour stop-start game in an empty Aviva Stadium. The match-winning score from Ronan Kelleher – a contentious try awarded despite suspicions of a double movement – came after the reigning champions had struggled to find their rhythm and had to rely on defensive sets for skirmish wins to celebrate.

“We were in it,” said CJ Stander on the virtual post-match press conference.

“We had opportunities. Just didn’t keep the ball to hand in the first half and in the second half we let opportunities go.

“They’re a world class team and they kept us away from the try-line until the end. If we could have gone over with a maul at the end (it might have been different). 

“That’s what class teams do, they keep you away from the try-line. Fair play to them.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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