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Ben and Robin O'Connell from Clonlara Co Clare over supporting Munster in Llanelli
Inpho/Lorraine O'Sullivan
Leinster Join Munster In European Eclipse
4 April 2007, 12:04 am
By Chris Byrne
The thousands of dejected Munster supporters trudging back from Wales were followed by their Leinster counterparts beating a retreat from High Wycombe following their defeat by London Wasps in the quarter final
And so a start of year that promised so much, at Heineken Cup and international level, ended with only a Triple Crown to show for all the effort.

It may well be that the efforts required in the international arena mitigated against progress in the Heineken Cup for Leinster and Munster who basically provide the players that Eddie O'Sullivan needs. It is hardly coincidental that less than a fortnight after the final Six Nations game against Italy, Munster and Leinster produced their least impressive performances en route to exiting the Heineken Cup.

Munster played their best rugby in the second half of their clash with Llanelli while in contrast, Leinster's best period came in the opening half of their game with London Wasps. However, both will point to the period immediately before half-time as perhaps the crucial period in determining the outcome.

In Stradey Park, Munster, playing against the wind, were just 10 points behind as play entered added time. Then they conceded the seven pointer that left them 17 points adrift at the break.

In London, Leinster, just 13-7 down coming up to the break went through 15 phases of play inside the Wasps 22 that ended with just a three pointer. It could so easily have been seven. They won a penalty, Lawrence Dallaglio was yellow-carded, but they opted for a kick at goal and in the period just after the restart when Wasps were down to 14, they conceded a crucial score.

Let it be said that there were no hard luck Irish stories in either Llanelli or London. Munster produced a flat performance riddled with error while Leinster simply could not cope with the Wasps pack but for them there is still the opportunity to end the season with silverware if they can stay top of the Magners League.

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