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Munster Rugby vs Leinster Rugby
Guinness Pro14, Round 11
Thomond Park, Limerick,
Tuesday, 26th December 2017, 15:15

TV: Live on TG4/Sky

Leinster made life very hard for themselves last week against Exeter with a rubbish first half performance. But they showed some character at least to recover in the second half and earn the win to put them back in pole position.

Before they get back to Europe they have three derbies or what they should really be referred to, the Christmas mismatches. In the past all the internationals were rested during this period which meant the games were competitive at least. However there has been a tweak in the last two seasons which allows the teams to play their top internationals in one of the games. This has had the effect of teams putting all their eggs in one basket so last season a weakened Leinster side went to play a first-choice Munster side and were duly stuffed. The following week Ulster sent a under-strength side to play a much stronger Leinster side and they were comprehensively beaten as well.

Unfortunately it looks to be going the same way this year as Munster have named a much stronger team while Leinster have made twelve changes to the side that started last week. For Munster they are able to recall Ireland internationals Keith Earls, Andrew Conway and Tommy O'Donnell to the side plus Rhys Marshall to the front row.

For Leinster, only Devin Toner, Jack Conan and Robbie Henshaw remain from last week as Jack McGrath captains the team for the first time and James Lowe gets a second run on the wing. It's not a terrible Leinster team by any means but it's nowhere near full strength though and it would be a surprise if Munster don't win comfortably again. You wouldn't blame fans for staying away from these Chrismas mismatches in future.

Team Lineups

Munster Rugby

Leinster Rugby
Teams Andrew Conway
15 Jordan Larmour
Darren Sweetnam
14 Barry Daly
Sammy Arnold
13 Rory O'Loughlin
Rory Scannell
12 Robbie Henshaw
Keith Earls
11 James Lowe
Ian Keatley
10 Ross Byrne
Conor Murray
9 Jamison Gibson-Park

Dave Kilcoyne
1 Jack McGrath (C)
Rhys Marshall
2 James Tracy
Stephen Archer
3 Michael Bent
Jean Kleyn
4 Devin Toner
Billy Holland
5 James Ryan
Peter O'Mahony
6 Jordi Murphy
Tommy O'Donnell
7 Dan Leavy
CJ Stander
8 Jack Conan

Replacements Niall Scannell
16 Richardt Strauss
James Cronin
17 Ed Byrne
John Ryan
18 Tadhg Furlong
Darren O'Shea
19 Mick Kearney
Jack O'Donoghue
20
Josh van der Flier
Duncan Williams
21 Nick McCarthy
JJ Hanrahan
22 Cathal Marsh
Simon Zebo
23 Noel Reid

Not Considered
Due to Injury
Chris Farrell,
Jaco Taute,
Dan Goggin,
Gerbrandt Grobler

Tom Daly,
Jamie Heaslip,
Joey Carbery,
Ross Molony,
Rhys Ruddock,
Adam Byrne
Officials Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2017-12-23

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