Leinster hang on to beat Munster to reach Pro14 final

Meeting for the 154th time in their history, the two Irish provinces know each other inside out but few of those clashes will have been as dramatic as this semi-final at a raucous RDS Arena, where Leinster eventually emerged as 16-15 victors.

The win looked in doubt when Gerbrandt Grobler’s 79th-minute try and Ian Keatley’s conversion reduced Munster’s deficit to a single point, before they found themselves deep in Leinster territory as the clock turned red, but the defence held firm and Max Deegan produced a vital turnover to seal it.

Just seven days after winning the European Rugby Champions Cup, Leo Cullen’s men were put through the wringer again as Keith Earls’ try early in the second half kept the visitors in touch.

But the boots of Ross Byrne and Joey Carbery gave them enough of a cushion to withstand Grobler’s late score and they will now have the opportunity to seal a European and domestic double for the first time in their history.

Leinster had played in eight previous semi-finals in Championship history, with their only defeat coming against reigning champions Scarlets last season, and will now have the opportunity to avenge that loss in next Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 final.

For Munster, it was a first league defeat since they visited Edinburgh on 16 March and although they came agonisingly close to winning their maiden away semi-final in the Championship at the fourth attempt, their wait for a first piece of silverware since 2011 goes on.

 

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