Leinster held their nerve in a frenetic finish to edge a tense all-Irish Pro14 semi-final against Munster 16-15 on Saturday.
Fresh from winning the European Champions Cup final last weekend, Leinster gave themselves breathing space with a Joey Carbery penalty that opened up an eight-point lead at the RDS Arena with four minutes to go.
Gerbrandt Grobler’s converted score brought Munster back within one, though, and left the visitors with just over a minute to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
But Munster, whose only win over Leinster at the RDS Arena came 10 years ago, fell just short in their efforts, leaving the hosts to prepare for a final against Scarlets where they will look to complete a European and Pro14 double for the first time – a feat no team has achieved.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) May 19, 2018
Leinster came flying out of the blocks and had the game’s first try in just the seventh minute when James Lowe brilliantly flipped inside for Jack Conan to touch down.
A JJ Hanrahan penalty for Munster was quickly answered by Ross Byrne, and Leinster appeared destined for a certain score when Lowe broke clear down the left wing only to be denied by a brilliant covering tackle from Sam Arnold.
Munster exerted pressure in the forwards as the half wound down, but they were temporarily a man down when Jean Kleyn was sin-binned for a reckless wipe-out of Byrne just shy of the hosts’ tryline.
The visitors rode out the numerical disadvantage, though, and Simon Zebo showed great feet before offloading for Keith Earls to squeeze over in the left corner.
The conversion was missed and Leinster extended the lead to five points with a Carbery penalty, the same man seemingly finishing the job by splitting the posts in the closing stages.
Munster ensured a dramatic finish when Grobler stretched for the line and touched the ball off the base of the post, but, despite making their way into Leinster territory, they were unable to find another scoring opportunity.
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