Belfast Telegraph

We can conquer Leinster again, maintains Hanrahan

Munster 15 Benetton 13

Final say: Munster’s JJ Hanrahan celebrates kicking winning penalty
Final say: Munster’s JJ Hanrahan celebrates kicking winning penalty

By Staff Reporter

If Munster turn up at the RDS for their PRO14 semi-final against Leinster on Saturday week and play like they did against Benetton, their season will be over.

The chances of them giving such an insipid display at the home of their fiercest rivals are slim. This one should get the juices flowing.

If life was fair, the Italians would be the ones tuning in to this weekend's Champions Cup final with their analytical hats on. Kieran Crowley's team rejected every Munster attack as if their lives depended on it and then produced a lovely try from Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara on the cusp of half-time.

They dominated the second half, but their discipline and profligacy cost them as Munster hung in there and did enough to give JJ Hanrahan another match-winning moment.

The Kerryman's penalty from the halfway line set up the all-Irish clash and a repeat of the December game when Leinster lost their heads at Thomond Park.

Hanrahan wasn't involved that night, but his recent form has surely moved him ahead of the lacklustre Tyler Bleyendaal in the pecking order - even if Joey Carbery returns, as is expected.

And he says the 26-17 victory has filled the men in red with confidence.

"It was massive for the dressing room," he said.

"It was great to get it at home as well. We know at home they're going to be a different animal up there, it's a different aspect going up to Dublin to play them, but Johann (van Graan) has mentioned a few times how good they are.

"They're one of the top two sides in Europe and they've shown that because of the way they've played and they're in the final, so it will be interesting to see who will come out on top.

"We've got a lot of work to do. We'll make our plans and we'll give it a crack when we get up there."

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