herald

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Final fling for Leinster

Leinster full-back Robert Kearney is not about to under-estimate the competitiveness of Munster ahead of the much-anticipated Magners League semi-final at the RDS this evening.

"If I were to put myself in their situation, having been beaten three times in a row, they're going to be hungrier than ever for a win," said Kearney.

Clearly, the British & Irish Lions full-back is aware of what can happen when the competitive edge is blunted by a false sense of security that would leave Leinster open to a home defeat.



ELATION

It was Kearney's beaming smile that eventually defined Leinster's come-from-behind win over Edinburgh on the final day of the regular season last Saturday.

He was the architect of an effective block down, before fast-forwarding in support of his charging lock forward Nathan Hines to win the chase to the line for the final try.

The elation at finally ridding themselves of a persistent and committed Edinburgh spread through the ranks, after Leinster seemed slow to warm to their task.

For sure, it has eradicated the hangover from the Heineken Cup deflation against Toulouse. Further, the unavailability of their captain Leo Cullen has been balanced out by the recovery of Jonathan Sexton from a cracked jaw.

Munster have also been boosted by the return to action of Doug Howlett, John Hayes, Mick O'Driscoll and Keith Earls to greatly strengthen the side which battled so bravely to a one-point defeat at Cardiff Blues.

Coach Tony McGahan's selection of hooker Damien Varley and openside Niall Ronan over Jerry Flannery and David Wallace is a difficult one to understand given the absence of Paul O'Connell.

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