Munster punish Ill-tempered Leinster
PRO14 REPORT: A rampant Munster side handed defending Pro14 champions Leinster only their second defeat of the season as they claimed a dramatic 26-17 interprovincial derby win.
Tries from Chris Cloete and Keith Earls, along with 14 points from Joey Carbery and a conversion from Tyler Bleyendaal, saw the hosts maintain their unbeaten home record in 2018.
Leinster, who were reduced to 14 men after James Lowe saw red on the half-hour mark, closed the deficit with second-half tries from James Tracy and Max Deegan.
But it was not enough to rescue the result as the visitors, who also had Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong sib-binned in the first 30 minutes, lost their seven-game unbeaten streak.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) December 29, 2018
The often-fractious encounter started with Leinster on the front foot as they stretched the Munster defence in the early stages, but it was the hosts who claimed the opening score.
Superb work from Cloete allowed the flank to touch down on the back of a maul just moments after receiving a heavy tackle from Scott Fardy, with Carbery adding the extras.
Leinster suffered another blow a minute later when Healy was sent to the sin bin on his 200th appearance for the club after a clash with Conor Murray.
A Johnny Sexton penalty got Leinster on the board for the first time but just as Healy returned to the field, Furlong was shown yellow for a big hit on try scorer Cloete.
It went from bad to worse for the visitors just two minutes later when Lowe was given a straight red card after colliding with Andrew Conway, leaving Leinster two-men short.
Munster capitalised with another Carbery penalty to go into the break 13-3 ahead, before the Irish international added another three points after a period of relentless Munster pressure.
But just as the hosts appeared to be leaving their rivals behind, Leinster struck back through Tracy who burrowed over the line before Sexton added the extras.
Carbery was on target again just after the hour to stretch Munster’s lead once more, before Earls produced a timely interception and sprinted over 80 metres for his side’s second try.
Replacement Bleyendaal’s conversion appeared to put the result beyond doubt, but Deegan grabbed a late try to cut the deficit in the closing minutes.
It proved to be nothing more than a consolation, though, as Munster closed out the game to end their four-match losing streak against their provincial rivals and move up to second in Conference A.
Tries: Cloete, Earls
Cons: Carbery, Bleyendaal
Pens: Carbery 4
Tries: Tracy, Deegan
Cons: Sexton, Frawley
Red card: James Lowe (Leinster, 31)
Yellow cards: Cian Healy (Leinster, 16); Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, 29)
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Dan Goggin, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander (captain), 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Fineen Wycherley, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
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: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Rory O’Loughlin, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (captain), 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 James Ryan, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Noel Reid.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Jonny Erskine (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)