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Wasteful Leinster survive Munster scare in Dublin

Jonathan Sexton of Leinster is tackled by Jeremy Loughman and Keynan Knox of Munster during the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Munster at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Replacement Rob Russell’s late bonus-point try ended a youthful Munster’s valiant effort as Leinster claimed a 27-13 derby win at the Aviva Stadium.


Munster were only 7-6 behind at half-time, Joey Carbery kicking two penalties either side of Scott Penny’s 27th-minute try.

The visitors put sin-binnings for Keynan Knox and Jean Kleyn behind them with a well-worked score from Liam Coombes.

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Crucially, Dan Sheehan was quick to respond for Leinster in the 49th minute and, from then on, it was smart wet-weather rugby that took the United Rugby Championship leaders clear.

Captain Johnny Sexton and Player of the Match Luke McGrath seized control, the latter crossing from a close-in maul. The final flourish put Russell over in the left corner.

Leinster, who were often guilty of misfiring in the opposition 22, were held scoreless despite a dominant start. Jason Jenkins was held up early on and Sexton put a penalty wide.

Having missed a longer effort just moments earlier, Carbery kicked a territory-starved Munster ahead in the 21st minute.


However, prop Knox’s forearm soon made contact with James Ryan’s head for a yellow card. Penny duly burrowed in under the posts for Sexton to convert.

Jack Crowley and Tom Ahern increased their influence for Munster in broken play, the momentum leading to a second Carbery penalty.

A resilient Munster ended the opening half with Kleyn in the bin for taking out Jamie Osborne after a kick, but skipper Jack O’Donoghue held up Sheehan from a maul.


Roaring back in attack, Gavin Coombes’ looping pass sent his cousin Liam over after O’Donoghue’s kick chase had forced an error from Jimmy O’Brien.

Although a brilliant Carbery conversion gave Munster a six-point buffer, Sheehan replied with his sixth try of the season. He dummied through to score from a lineout drive.

Sexton’s drilled conversion restored Leinster’s lead, and the 37-year-old playmaker landed a 56th-minute penalty to leave it 17-13.

McGrath then stole a march on Dave Kilcoyne and Ben Healy to add the third try. Some prolonged Munster pressure failed to produce a score, and the pacy Russell sealed the bonus point with less then three minutes to go.


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