Pics & Preview: Munster V Leinster
4th October 2016 By Munster Rugby
Take a behind the scenes look at yesterday’s indoor skills session, plus see how the sides shape up as Munster prepare to face Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in the Guinness PRO12’s BIG WEEKEND of interprovincial action.
Click here to see our action shots from yesterday’s indoor skills session.
With five rounds played, Munster head to Dublin lying second on the Championship table, just two points adrift of Ulster who remain the only unbeaten team in the PRO12 this season. The Ulstermen have a tough challenge in facing defending champions Connacht at the Sportsground on Friday night.
The challenge is no easier for Munster as they set their sights on the top of the table come Saturday, travelling the face third placed – and their oldest of rivals – Leinster at the Aviva Stadium. Both provinces enter this much anticipated duel enjoying strong form with four wins out of five apiece, Leinster most recently grinding out a 13-16 away win over the much fancied Cardiff Blues while Munster were emphatic 49-5 winners over Zebre at Thomond Park.
While Munster achieved the season’s double over Leinster in 2014/15, the Blues returned the favour last season – Munster’s cause not aided by match-winning chances going a begging when the sides last met.
In terms of attack little separates the sides thus far, Munster just shading it with 17 tries versus Leinster’s 16, but on the defensive front Munster statistically hold the better hand, conceding just 8 tries as opposed to Leinster’s 13. However with attacking firepower in Leinster's ranks from the likes Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose and Jamie Heaslip, to name a few, Jacques Nienaber’s defensive line will perhaps face it's toughest challenge yet.
Munster have no shortage of decent attackers themselves this season. Always dangerous at close range, Conor Murray has sniped round the fringes for three tries in the last two games, while Darren Sweetnam with his quick feet, neat offloads and massive work rate has been one of the Championship’s standout players this season.
Not forgetting also the recent return of squad captain Peter O’Mahony to the Munster pack and it augurs well for a hugely competitive and fiercely contested clash on Lansdowne Road at 2.05pm on Saturday.
No stranger to this interprovincial rivalry is Head Coach Anthony Foley who this week commented, “It’s an important game for both sides, for your PRO12 position, for bragging rights and in setting yourself up nicely for a return to European action the following weekend.
“We have a fair idea of what we’re going to meet, we’re playing in our national stadium and that will bring a lot of excitement to the players so it’s important we prepare accordingly.”
Leinster v Munster, Guinness PRO12 round 6, Saturday October 8th at the Aviva Stadium, ko 2.05pm. Tickets can be purchased online here.
Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU, 45th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Gaffikin, Richard Kerr (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eddie Walsh (IRFU)
TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)
|HEAD TO HEAD – RECENT GUINNESS PRO12 MEETINGS|
|Date||Venue||L||M||Leinster scorers||Munster scorers|
|Sat 5 Oct 13||Thomond Park||15||19||Ian Madigan(4P) Fergus McFadden(P)||Keith Earls(T) Ian Keatley(C/4P)|
|Sat 29 Mar 14||Aviva Stadium||22||18||Ian Madigan(C/5P) Brian O'Driscoll(T)||Ian Keatley(6P)|
|Sat 4 Oct 14||Aviva Stadium||23||34||Darragh Fanning(T) Ian Madigan(2C/3P) Penalty Try(T)||James Cronin(T) Robin Copeland(T) JJ Hanrahan(P) Ian Keatley(T/2C/4P)|
|Fri 26 Dec 14||Thomond Park||13||28||Ian Madigan(C/2P) Shane Jennings(T)||CJ Stander(T) Andrew Conway(T) Dave O'Callaghan(T) Ian Keatley(2C/3P)|
|Sun 27 Dec 15||Thomond Park||24||7||Jack McGrath(T) Ian Madigan(3C/P) Isa Nacewa(T) Zane Kirchner(T)||Rory Scannell(C) Robin Copeland(T)|
|Sat 2 Apr 16||Aviva Stadium||16||13||Johnny Sexton(T/C/3P)||Johnny Holland(T/C/2P)|
Next Home Game:
Munster welcome Glasgow Warriors to Thomond Park for their first home game of the 2016/17 European Champions Cup on Saturday October 22nd at 1pm.