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Key talking points as Leinster edge Munster in pulsating battle at the Aviva

Leinster Munster

Time to catch your breath.

Irish rugby supporters waited 25 weeks to see live rugby again and it was certainly worth the wait as Leinster and Munster played out a thriller at the Aviva Stadium.

Leinster edged out a quality game 27-25 after tries from Cian Healy, Garry Ringrose and James Lowe were enough to see the eastern province home in a thrilling encounter.

Leinster Munster

Leo Cullen’s side put daylight between themselves and Munster in the second half with a 24-13 lead but tries from Keith Earls and a second from Andrew Conway ensured a nail-biting finish.

Hanrahan missed a very difficult conversion which would have tied the game as Leinster held out for the win.

Here are some talking points from a brilliant game.

Leinster as ruthless as ever

Despite Munster having a lot of ball during this game, Leinster made their possession count more often than not.

The eastern province were ruthless in Munster’s 22 as they kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout the 80 minutes.

Munster enjoyed 55% possession and 62% territory yet Leinster took their scores when the opportunities arose.

The eastern province didn’t need to work as hard for their points and that was the key difference between the sides.

Early Munster injuries.

One of the big talking points from a Munster perspective was the loss of two key players early in the game. After just seven minutes, RG Snyman and Dave Kilcoyne both left the field at the same time.

Snyman looks like he injured his knee as he came down from a lineout after stealing a Leinster throw. Kilcoyne looks to have an ankle injury which will no doubt be a huge concern for head coach Johann van Graan considering James Cronin pulled out with an injury before kick-off.

All involved in Munster will hope the injuries won’t keep the players sidelined for too long.

CJ Stander the definition of consistency

Despite Munster’s loss, CJ Stander put in a superb shift which saw him win at least two crucial turnovers in the first half and he followed that up again with some more brilliant breakdown work in the second 40.

As ever, the South African was incredibly effective with ball in hand and it looks like the extended break has revitalised the number eight.

Leinster stubbornness

The eastern province were under huge pressure in the final 10 minutes as Munster looked to clinch a last-gasp victory.

However, those tired bodies held firm under immense stress as Devin Toner, who earlier went off with a yellow card, came up trumps with a superb interception which ensured the game was played out in Munster’s half.

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Leinster: Jordan Larmour, Dave Kearney, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (captain), Luke McGrath, Cian Healy, Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter, Ryan Baird, Scott Fardy, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Ed Byrne, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Max Deegan.

Munster: Shane Daly; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; RG Snyman, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Jeremy Loughman, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Chris Cloete, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Matt Gallagher.

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Author: Sean McMahon

Sean is Deputy Editor and head rugby writer. You can contact him by email seanmc@punditarena.com or on Twitter