Leinster recover from poor start to edge out rivals Munster in thrilling derby, while Glasgow defeat Ulster

Planet Rugby
Leinster's Jordan Larmour celebrates try against Munster in 2023.

Leinster's Jordan Larmour celebrates try against Munster in 2023.

Leinster claimed the derby spoils as they came from 10-0 behind to overcome arch-rivals Munster 21-16 at the Aviva Stadium.

50,000 fans watched on as Graham Rowntree’s men opened the match impressively thanks to Craig Casey’s score and Jack Crowley’s penalty.

The hosts responded, however, and were 14-10 ahead by the interval following tries from Jamison Gibson-Park and Dan Sheehan.

It was a lead they would not relinquish in the second period, although Munster made sure that they would have to work for the win.

Two further three-pointers from Crowley kept the visitors in the contest until the end, but Jordan Larmour’s well-taken try meant that Leinster secured their fifth URC victory of the season.

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Simon Zebo announced his return from injury with a brilliant fifth-minute break, getting inside Garry Ringrose to race past halfway. Calvin Nash and Antoine Frisch provided the support, the latter offloading for Casey to dive over spectacularly in the right corner.

Crowley converted and quickly made it 10-0 with a penalty after his initial break almost led to a second try – Stephen Archer held up on the night he became Munster’s most-capped player of all time with his 269th appearance.

Player of the match Jack Conan and Ringrose then found gaps in the Munster defence but, despite Rory Scannell seeing yellow for not rolling away near his own line, Diarmuid Barron pinched possession from a poor Leinster maul attempt.

However, a loose offload from Tadhg Beirne was punished by Gibson-Park who collected his own kick through to cross to the left of the posts. Ciaran Frawley, an early replacement for Byrne, converted.

A Conan turnover penalty led to a prolonged period of Leinster attacking. Beirne and Tom Ahern defended stoutly for Munster, but Sheehan sprung over from a 34th-minute maul to edge the hosts ahead.

Crowley increased his influence in this interprovincial arm-wrestle with a well-won turnover penalty. He split the posts in the 52nd minute to make it a one-point game.

Coupled with a Tadhg Furlong knock-on, John Hodnett won the breakdown battle to lift Munster again. Nash also looked dangerous inside the Leinster 22.

Caelan Doris got in to disrupt and when Leinster returned to the visitors’ 22, they were clinical. Gibson-Park picked out Larmour who stepped inside Shane Daly and evaded Zebo’s clutches to run in a crucial score, which Frawley coolly converted.

Crowley responded from the tee, closing the gap to five points, and Conor Murray’s clever blindside break sparked a breathless finale. Turnovers from Doris and Beirne denied late pushes for tries at both ends.

Johnny Matthews double helps Glasgow beat Ulster

Glasgow made it five wins from six to go top of the United Rugby Championship table after recovering from a 14-0 deficit to win 33-20 and inflict a second defeat of the season on Ulster.

Ulster raced into a commanding lead after just 11 minutes but the Warriors responded with five tries to secure a bonus-point victory at Scotstoun.

The visitors dominated the opening exchanges and took a sixth-minute lead from a lineout after sending a penalty to touch on the left. The initial drive on the line was held up, but a second effort saw hooker Tom Stewart peel off the right-hand side and force his way over.

The visitors soon doubled their lead, again off the back of a penalty to touch, with John Cooney finishing from close range after his pack had rumbled close. The scrum-half added his second conversion to make it 14-0.

Nathan Doak, a late addition to the Ulster bench, came on midway through the first half for a head injury assessment to Billy Burns, which the starting 10 went on to fail.

The Warriors had barely got out of their own half up to that point, but slowly increased the pressure and eventually opened their account.

They sent a penalty to touch around 15 metres out, and after play came back infield, scrum-half Sean Kennedy celebrated his first home start for more than a decade by finishing off from close range. Tom Jordan converted the first of his four successful kicks.

Glasgow pressed hard for a second try as half-time approached, and they eventually got it in time added on.

A lineout was once more the launchpad, and hooker George Turner finished off at the back of the maul before Jordan’s conversion made it 14-14 at the break.

World Cup winner Steven Kitshoff came on for his Ulster debut 10 minutes into the second half, but before the prop could get involved the Warriors took the lead when Josh McKay found Kyle Rowe in just enough space for him to score in the left corner.

Jordan’s conversion attempt went wide as the visitors’ Kieran Treadwell was sent to the sin bin for an offence in the build-up.

A Cooney penalty narrowed the gap to two points, but just before the hour mark Johnny Matthews came off the bench and got on the end of a well-worked passing move to secure the bonus-point score for the home side.

Jordan’s conversion made it a nine-point lead, and although a Doak penalty soon cut it to six with quarter of an hour to play, Matthews then got his second try after sustained pressure and Jordan added the extras.

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