Leinster win at Thomond Park

Date published: December 27 2015

Leinster moved up to third place in the PRO12 standings after they defeated Munster 24-7 in Sunday's derby match at Thomond Park.

This was Munster's fifth successive defeat in all competitions and a third straight loss on home soil, which is a worry going into the new year.

The Dublin-based outfit have struggled to find their fluency under new head coach Leo Cullen this season, but they were well worth their 10-0 lead in the first-half here.

Isa Nacewa crossed the whitewash and Ian Madigan kicked five points before Robin Copeland reduced the arrears a minute before the break with a try of his own.

Jack McGrath's touchdown restored the 10-point buffer in the second period and that proved to be enough to condemn the hosts to their fourth league defeat of the season.

With Anthony Foley's team looking to force the play and secure a losing bonus-point in the last minute, Zane Kirchner intercepted a stray pass and scampered clear to complete a resounding victory.

Both Leinster and Munster appear to be in transitional periods following disappointing performances in Europe and this match showed why. Although the intensity was high, there were plenty of mistakes from the teams.

In fact, the first try of the encounter came via a turnover after one of those errors. That opened the space out wide for Cullen's men and, after Sean O'Brien had drawn in Simon Zebo, talented centre Garry Ringrose sped through a gap. Although the prodigious Ringrose could have possibly finished the opportunity himself, he opted to offload to Nacewa who did the rest.

Madigan then added a penalty as Leinster continued to control the pace of the match, despite the home side's best attempts.

Munster did eventually find their way across the whitewash as a period of pressure resulted in Copeland going over, but the away team went into the interval 10-7 ahead.

The second period continued in much the same vein with errors pervading the encounter, but crucially it was the Leinster players who were making fewer. That was perfectly demonstrated in their second try when their patience close to the opposition line was rewarded with McGrath going over.

Although Foley's side pressed to get back into the game, the visitors had the final word through Kirchner's intercept touchdown.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Try: Copeland
Con: Scannell

For Leinster:
Tries: Nacewa, McGrath, Kirchner
Con: Madigan 3
Pen: Madigan

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Jack O'Donoghue, 6 Robin Copeland, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dave Foley, 3 John Ryan, 2 Mike Sherry, 1 James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Mario Sagario, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Tommy O'Donnell, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Denis Hurley, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Luke Fitzgerald, 11 Isa Nacewa (c), 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Tom Denton, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Dave Kearney.

Referee: David Wilkinson (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland)
TMO: Alan Falzone (Ireland)