Munster defeat 14-man Leinster in Guinness Pro14

Credit: @Munsterrugby

Munster Rugby 26  Leinster Rugby 17

Munster beat Leinster for the first time since December 2016 as ill-discipline from Leo Cullen’s side, particularly in the opening 40 minutes, cost the European Champions dearly with Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong both being yellow carded and James Lowe sent off.

In an incident filled tense opening half, an early altercation between Fineen Wycherley and Johnny Sexton set the tone for the game as Sexton reacted angrily by tearing Wycherley’s scrum cap off when tackled by the Corkman. The attention of referee Frank Murphy was called by his assistant John Erskine, and when the incident was reviewed, Munster were awarded a penalty but no action was taken against the Leinster number 10.

A high tackle by Scott Fardy on Chris Cloete on the touchline saw the Australian concede his third penalty inside the opening 13 minutes of the game. With Carbery opting to kick for touch, the home side won the lineout and a 13-man drive from Johann van Graan’s side saw Cloete at the back of the scrum touch down for the opening score of the match. Carbery added the extras when successfully converting, giving his side a 7-0 lead with 15 minutes on the clock.

Right after the restart Conor Murray was caught by a high tackle from Cian Healy which led to a melée on the field with most of the 30 players involved in one way or the other. Referee Murphy yellow carded Healy, a decision which was arguably as a result of the persistent Leinster fouling as much as for the high tackle itself.

A Murray high tackle on Jordan Larmour shortly afterwards brought another bout of trouble for the officials to deal with. Leinster winger James Lowe intervened before Munster players then got involved. Murray escaped a yellow card, which showed an element of inconsistency in the decision making of the referee.

Tadhg Furlong was the eastern province’s second front row player yellow carded when his effort to clear Chris Cloete out of the ruck saw the South African flat on his back on the field. Furlong made contact with Cloete’s head as he hit him with his chest. Medics immediately came to the assistance of Cloete who was removed from the pitch on a motorised stretcher.

Minutes later Leinster were down to 13 players when James Lowe was red carded. Andrew Conway was taken out in the air by the New Zealander who didn’t seem to have any chance of getting the ball, but more importantly failed to show any duty of care to the Munster winger. Following consultation with his TMO, Seán Gallagher, Murphy had no option but to send off the Leinster player.

A Joey Carbery penalty five minutes before the interval increased the home side’s lead before a long successful penalty effort from the Leinster 10m line saw Munster achieve a 13-3 lead at the end of the opening half.

Carbery began the second half as he had ended the first by successfully adding another three points to push Munster 16-3 clear.

When Johnny Sexton opted on two occasions to kick for touch instead of going for the posts, his decision paid dividends when moments later the Leinster pack drove over the try-scoring line. The referee again went to his TMO before confirming the five-pointer for 14-man Leinster. Sexton converted as Leo Cullen’s side reduced the deficit to 10-16 with just 10 minutes played in the second period.

Carbery maintained his 100% success at kicking for goal when scoring another penalty, making it 5 from 5 on the evening for Munster’s No. 10.

As both sides made replacements throughout the second period, the 60th minute substitution of Johnny Sexton, who had spent most of the first half in the referee’s face, seemed a little early, with the game still in the mix.

An intercept from Keith Earls put the result of the game beyond doubt, however, as the ‘Myross Magician’ sped from inside the Leinster 22m line before touching down under the posts. With Tyler Bleyendaal moments on the field as replacement for Carbery, the New Zealander had an easy task in converting.

A very late Max Deegan consolation try for Leinster, which replacement Ciarán Frawley converted, left Munster 26-17 winners.

Munster Rugby scorers
Try: Cloete, Earls
Conversion: Carbery, Bleyendaal
Penalty: Carbery (4)

Leinster Rugby scorers
Try: Tracy, Deegan
Conversion: Sexton, Frawley
Penalty: Sexton

Munster Rugby:
15. Mike Haley, 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Dan Goggin, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Keith Earls, 10. Joey Carbery, 9. Conor Murray.

1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Niall Scannell, 3. John Ryan, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Tadhg Beirne, 6. Fineen Wycherley, 7. Chris Cloete, 8. CJ Stander (captain).

Munster Replacements:
16. Kevin O’Byrne, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Stephen Archer, 19. Billy Holland, 20. Arno Botha, 21. Alby Mathewson, 22. Tyler Bleyendaal, 23. Darren Sweetnam.

Leinster Rugby:
15. Jordan Larmour, 14. Rory O’Loughlin, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Noel Reid, 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Luke McGrath.

1. Cian Healy, 2. James Tracy, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Scott Fardy, 5. James Ryan, 6. Rhys Ruddock, 7. Josh van de Flier, 8. Jack Conan.

Leinster Replacements:
16. Bryan Byrne, 17. Peter Dooley, 18. Michael Bent, 19. Ross Molony, 20. Max Deegan, 21. Hugh O’Sullivan, 22. Ciarán Frawley, 23. Conor O’Brien.




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