It was hard to ask for much more from a Leinster vs Munster clash as the reigning Pro 14 champions edged their closest rivals at the Aviva Stadium this evening.
After a six month hiatus, the two Irish teams put on a thrilling contest which felt more like an international test match than a Pro 14 encounter.
It was the visitors who broke the deadlock though as after 12 minutes Andrew Conway touched the ball down as Leinster were short of numbers on the left side. JJ Hanrahan slotted over the conversion to make it 7-0.
Munster lost both new signing RG Snyman and Dave Kilcoyne early on to injury meaning Jean Kleyn & Jeremy Loughman had to fill in.
It did not take long for the hosts to respond though as after a break from Garry Ringrose, Leinster won a penalty and kicked for the corner. From the resulting maul Cian Healy powered over to get it back to 5-7. Johnny Sexton slotted home to tie it up 7-7.
After penalties from both sides, the score was 13-10 to Munster but just before the break Garry Ringrose crossed over to have Leinster up 17-13 at the break.
HALF-TIME: Leinster 17-13 Munster
We trail narrowly at the break after a Leinster try on 40 minutes.
Andrew Conway's 43rd Munster try gave us an early lead with eight points from the boot of JJ Hanrahan.
Big second 40 coming up.#LEIvMUN #RugbyAgainstRacism #SUAF 🔴
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) August 22, 2020
Leinster put breathing space between themselves and Munster after 51 minutes as after some intricate passing from the back line, James Lowe broke away on the wing to make it 24-13 with Sexton's conversion.
From there it looked like it would only go one way but when Devin Toner got a yellow card in the 63rd minute, Munster sensed an opportunity. Three minutes later Munster were over the line as Keith Earls barreled his way past Luke McGrath in the corner.
After a penalty from Leinster's sub fly-half Ross Byrne made it 27-20, Munster struck back with another Conway try making it 27-25. JJ Hanrahan failed to make the conversion though which kept Leinster ahead.
The home side held on for the final two minutes to seal the win against their fiercest rivals.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) August 22, 2020