Munster cruise past Leinster

Date published: December 26 2016

Munster scored four tries to beat Leinster 29-17 at Thomond Park on Boxing Day.

Zane Kirchner went over to put Leinster ahead, only for Simon Zebo to level soon after. Roman O’Mahony put Munster 14-10 ahead at the break. Tommy O’Donnell stretched the lead after half-time with Munster’s third, CJ Stander following it with a fourth. A late Richardt Strauss try was a mere consolation.

Both sides came into this Christmas encounter on the back of strong runs, that meant a cracker was bound to be in store at Thomond Park.

A frantic beginning failed to produce any points, but Leinster were able to strike the first points 17 minutes in. A line-out saw Jack Conan control the ball well from a scrum, before the dart of Kirchner produced the first try and Isa Nacewa added the extras.

But the lead was soon eradicated after a controversial Munster try. The visitors thought Zebo had strayed into touch in the build up, but the TMO deemed that his whole body stayed in play after a well put together attack, with Tyler Bleyendaal leveling the scores from the conversion.

Nacewa put Leinster back ahead with a three-pointer, but Munster went in ahead thanks to their second try.

Having held up all the pressure coming their way for 21 phases, O’Mahony finally dived over the line with the conversion putting the hosts into a four point lead at half-time.

The hosts were stronger after the break and their pressure produced the third try 10 minutes into it. O’Donnell collected a cross field kick from Conor Murray, edging his way through challenges and letting Bleyendaal add the two to increase the lead to 11.

Any chance of a comeback was eradicated with a fourth try, coming from a line-out and maul, with Stander going over. The conversion missed, but a 16 point gap was too big to pull back.

Bleyendaal hit three more to increase the pain on the visitors, though a late try from Strauss did put a little gloss on the result as Leinster fell to a 29-17 defeat.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Zebo, O’Donnell, Stander, O’Mahony
Cons: Bleyendaal 3
Pens: Bleyendaal

For Leinster:
Kirchner, Strauss
Cons: Nacewa, Molony
Pens: Nacewa

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Francis Saili, 23 Andrew Conway

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Isa Nacewa (c), 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Barry Daly, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park 8 Jack Conan, 7 Dan Leavy, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Charlie Rock, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Tom Daly

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)