Johann van Graan content as Munster lift Leinster hoodoo
South African oversees just second derby win in 11 attempts during his Thomond tenure
Joey Carbery kicks for goal during Munster’s win over Leinster. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Munster could heave a collective sigh of relief after recording their first win in Dublin over Leinster in 10 attempts dating back to 2014, and just a second win over their auld rivals in 11 attempts during Johann van Graan’s time as head coach.
If he was relieved, or even thrilled, he wasn’t letting on.
“We’re very happy about the result, it was a very physical game with two quality sides who went at each other. The first try we scored was a very good broken field attack, it was a titanic battle and once we got our noses in front I felt we kept the pressure on.
“It’s very good for this group to come and win in the RDS,” said van Graan after their 27-3 win eased some of the pain from the defeat in the Pro14 final here four weeks ago.
“I think we took some of the lessons we learned in the final, we worked hard in the last few weeks. I think it was a real physical battle. It’s the first round of Rainbow Cup and, win or lose, we’ll review this and move on.
“I thought it was a very good team performance by all involved. Tactically we picked in a specific way, our starters did really well, and the impact from the bench was really good. I felt it was a good build on the Toulouse performance from a few weeks ago.”
Leinster will take this defeat on the chin and move on to next week’s Champions Cup semi-final comforted in the knowledge that Garry Ringrose and James Ryan each had an hour’s action in their first outing since Ireland’s penultimate Six Nations game against Scotland six weeks ago.
However Harry Byrne’s ill-luck with ill-timed injuries continued as he was forced off after five minutes with a hamstring issue.
“Garry and James are OK, it’s just trying to manage guys who haven’t been in for a while. Disappointing with Harry going off very early, he has a hamstring so we’ll see how bad that is. Caelan had a tight hamstring here yesterday, Ciaran Frawley, he had a tight hamstring but nothing major for him,” said Cullen.
“But anyway a few disruptions coming into the game.
“The game itself, in terms of the contact area we were well and truly second best. Munster are very aggressive in that area and unfortunately that leads to a lot of problems.
“We actually created a lot of opportunities, we weren’t accurate around some of the set-piece pieces as well. So overall, we were well and truly second best, I thought.”