Planet Rugby

Leinster triumph in Aviva showdown

29th March 2014 20:39

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brian o driscoll leinster v northampton saints

Crucial try: Brian O'Driscoll

Leinster withstood the challenge of rivals Munster at a packed Aviva Stadium to record a 22-18 win and remain top of the PRO12.

As expected between these two giants of the sport, the opening period was physical and intense, and four Ian Keatley penalties to Ian Madigan's two gave Rob Penney's men a 12-6 half-time lead.

Madigan added two further three-pointers after the break and also converted Brian O'Driscoll's try to take the hosts 19-12 ahead. Although Keatley gave Munster hope from the tee, a late penalty from Leinster's pivot secured them the victory.

In a battle between the top two sides in the competition, it was the visitors that controlled the opening exchanges of this encounter. Keatley was on target twice in the first seven minutes as Munster took a 6-0 lead over their arch rivals.

Although Madigan reduced the deficit with an effort off the tee, it was Penney's side that continued to have the upper hand. The scrum, as it has been for most of the season, also proved to be a profitable area for the Limerick-based outfit. Successive infringements at the set-piece by Leinster led to two three-point opportunities which the away team's fly-half duly took.

However, the hosts grew into the game as their forwards began to assert their authority at the contact area. A Madigan penalty took them to within losing bonus point territory before they increased the pressure in the second period.

Ten minutes after the restart Matt O'Connor's team had levelled matters through a pair of three-pointers from their fly-half. Munster then paid for their indiscretions when referee Alain Rolland sin-binned Dave Kilcoyne for not rolling away, and the home side took advantage as O'Driscoll was on hand to take Shane Jennings' off-load to touch down.

Penney's men survived any further damage to the scoreboard with Kilcoyne off the field and gave themselves a chance of snatching victory when Keatley kicked his fifth and sixth penalties. But, with two minutes remaining, Madigan was again on target from the tee to seal the win.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Try: O'Driscoll
Con: Madigan
Pens: Madigan 5

For Munster:
Pens: Keatley 6
Yellow card: Kilcoyne

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fegus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Michael Bent
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Ed Byrne, 19 Leo Cullen, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Zane Kirchner

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony (c), 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 Alan Cotter, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Gerhard van der Heever

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ire)

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