Leinster 3-27 Munster: Full-strength Munster thump rivals in Rainbow Cup

Munster had lost their three previous matches against Leinster this season
Leinster (3) 3
Pen: Hawkshaw
Munster (10) 27
Try: Murray 2, penalty try Cons: Carbery 2 Pen: Carbery 2

Conor Murray scored two tries as Munster claimed a satisfying win over Leinster in their first Rainbow Cup encounter.

The scrum-half crossed once in each half as a full-strength Munster were simply too strong for their much-changed rivals in Dublin.

With a Champions Cup semi-final coming up next week, Leinster will at least be glad of the fact that influential trio Garry Ringrose, James Ryan and Caelan Doris returned to the starting side and came through the contest unscathed.

While the Rainbow Cup is far from the Pro14 champions’ priority, they will still begrudge the fact they were turned over so comprehensively by their biggest rivals on their home ground.

Having lost this season’s three previous meetings, including the Pro14 final, Munster’s team selection indicated how badly Johann van Graan’s side wanted to stop the rot on Saturday.

They did so with clinical efficiency, with Murray scoring his first after just five minutes when he collected the ball from Damian de Allende, who broke through midfield and evaded the challenge of Jordan Larmour to send his scrum-half through.

Joey Carbery’s kicking kept Munster ticking along throughout the contest, while Leinster were forced into an early change at fly-half with David Hawkshaw replacing the injured Harry Byrne after just six minutes.

The retiring CJ Stander impressed as Munster dominated the breakdown in Dublin

Leinster were a far cry from their relentless best, but they did catch a break late in the first half when prop Stephen Archer was sent to the sin bin for dangerous play at the ruck.

However they could not capitalise on their numerical advantage, with Hawkshaw spurning a very kickable penalty before the hosts conceded a penalty while just inches away from the try-line to allow Munster an exit.

Murray then found his second try midway through the second half, sniping over after Chris Farrell had been stopped just short following a strong carry.

The game was put to bed with 10 minutes remaining when referee Chris Busby ran between the posts to award Munster a penalty try as Leinster deliberately collapsed a maul that was rolling towards the line, with replacement scrum-half Cormac Foley sent to the sin bin.

Leinster: Larmour; Kearney, Ringrose (capt), O’Loughlin, Lowe; Harry Byrne, O’Sullivan; E Byrne, Sheehan, Porter; Molony, Baird; Murphy, Penny, Doris.

Replacements: Cronin, Dooley, Bent, Ryan, Fardy, Foley, Frawley, O’Brien.

Munster: Haley; Earls, Farrell, De Allende, Daly; Carbery, Murray; Kilcoyne, Scannell, Archer; Kleyn, Beirne; O’Mahony (capt), O’Donoghue, Stander.

Replacements: Barron, Loughman, Knox, Wycherley, G Coombes, Casey, Healy, Nash.

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