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Sunday 23 April 2017

Murray: It's sweeter when we make statement against Blues

Francis Saili and Ronan O’Mahony of Munster celebrate
Francis Saili and Ronan O’Mahony of Munster celebrate

Ireland's Conor Murray hailed the "statement" made by Munster's physical domination of Leinster in Limerick.

"We needed to make a statement, rebound from being beaten by Leicester (in The Champions Cup) over there," he said.

"There were a couple of motivating factors, the breakdown being one and Leinster having won a couple of times down here in recent meetings, the other.

"This time of the year, sell-out crowd, extra seating out there, we wanted to make a statement.

"Physically, breakdown-wise, we managed to get back on the horse," he continued.

"It just so happens it was against Leinster which his always sweeter."

This collision came with accusations of Leinster throwing in the towel even before they entered the rectangular ring.

There were those who threw darts of disrespect at Northampton's selection for The Aviva in The Champions Cup.

This week, there have been understandable arrows aimed at Leinster for throwing down what was not their full hand.

This has less to do with what Leinster would like to have done and more with what the Player Welfare Programme will allow them to do.

Quite simply, there are players of a certain profile that have to be managed - this is code for having playing minutes limited - through the festive period.

"Yeah, there's been a lot of talk about it alright," said Leinster coach Leo Cullen.

"I still thought we had a strong enough team to come here to get a result."

The best interests of Ireland are sometimes at odds with those of the four provinces working under the umbrella organisation that is the IRFU.

Initially, Leinster were a match for Munster, leading 10-7 until the end of the first-half when Simon Zebo worked his magic and Tyler Bleyendaal did likewise from the touchline conversion.

"Conceding that try on half-time really knocked the stuffing out of us," said Cullen.

"It was a big momentum swing in the game."

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