Leinster ascended to the summit of the United Rugby Championship standings with a 9-3 victory over Munster in a tumultuous derby match at a wet Thomond Park, which was facilitated by three penalties taken by Harry Byrne.
Two early Byrne penalties assisted Leinster in establishing a 6-0 halftime lead following their utilisation of the wind advantage. Leinster’s lead was narrowed by a kick from Jack Crowley, but the game was secured by Byrne’s third penalty with the final kick of the match. The victory advances Leinster by three points over the previous leaders, Glasgow.
Leinster appeared to have the upper hand heading into the match, as Munster teammates Tadhg Beirne and Conor Murray were rested in accordance with Irish Rugby Football Union regulations after appearing in every match since their return from the World Cup, and their Ireland teammate Peter O’Mahony was ruled out due to injury.
Leo Cullen, the head coach of Leinster, named Hugo Keenan, Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Joe McCarthy, and Jack Conan to the squad. Hooker Dan Sheehan, a member of Ireland’s World Cup contingent, was designated to the bench.
Sean scrum-half for Ireland Due to Jamison Gibson-Park’s late withdrawal from the Leinster squad, Luke McGrath made his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury in October’s season-opening match against Glasgow.
Half-back position Craig Casey and Crowley were the starting eleven for Munster, along with Dave Kilcoyne, a prop, and Jeremy Loughman, a substitute. Rowntree’s 23 also included a member of Ireland’s World Cup squad.
Springboks, destined for Leinster, lock RG In the buildup to the festive interprovincial derby, rumours persisted unabated regarding Snyman’s controversial transfer to the Dublin-based club, despite the fact that he was unable to make an appearance for Munster due to his most recent injury.
Munster suffered early setbacks when play did resume, losing captain Diarmuid Barron and colleague front rower Kilcoyne to injuries within the first eighteen minutes. By that point, Leinster led 6-0 in a match that, due to the slick ball, was inevitably doomed to be low-scoring.
Byrne was awarded his first-minute penalty due to an immediate infringement by Barron following the kick-off. The Leinster fly-half achieved its second successful attempt in the sixteenth minute, which was caused by Porter’s turnover.
The subsequent opportunity was squandered when Casey’s yellow card for a tip tackle on Larmour reduced Munster to fourteen men.
Munster generated pressure after the resumption with the wind in their favour, but Crowley’s unexpected miss from a central position just outside the 22nd minute prevented him from slicing Leinster’s lead in the 52nd minute.
Crowley’s penalty kick was effective four minutes after Edwin Edogbo, a lock for Munster who had shown great promise but was subsequently substituted due to an apparent knee injury.
Leinster squandered opportunities to extend the lead, and Munster were never able to regain momentum afterward; Byrne missed the post with another penalty and then misknuck from an even more kickable position. However, Leinster did not panic, as man-of-the-match McCarthy’s turnover helped them maintain control until Ryan Baird’s lineout theft thwarted another opportunity for Munster.
Munster controlled the final minutes through Loughman’s yellow card and Byrne’s match-winning third conversion in the final minute.