The rugby season ramped up a level this afternoon, when Leinster hosted Munster at the Aviva for a curiously-timed 2pm fixture. It served as a decent European tune-up for Leinster, who beat Munster comfortably without ever totally dominating and should have walked away with a bonus point. Munster, meanwhile, received a bit of a reality check ahead of the ROG Derby in Paris next weekend.
Here are our player ratings.
15. Rob Kearney - 6
Was not used an attacking option but his strong aerial defense - on show to deny Sweetnam in the 24th minute - remains a very valuable asset in Leinster's robust defensive game plan.
14. Rory O'Loughlin - 6
The majority of Leinster's attacking thrust took place down Nacewa's wing but the experience of this interpro will certainly stand to him.
13. Garry Ringrose - 7
Won't be forgetting that botched first half try any time soon - we don't think Johnny Sexton will let him. His first half was equally frustrating and brilliant and his pace and slipperiness gave Leinster a real attacking edge as they put the game to Munster in the second half.
How did he miss that?! Leinster's Garry Ringrose fails to gather Johnny Sexton's kick through. Watch on Sky Sports 1 https://t.co/X4Pf3lTAnQ
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) October 8, 2016
12. Robbie Henshaw - 9
Wonderful to have him back on the rugby pitch. He seemed very comfortable in the Leinster backline and his defensive influence was obvious. Stirring kick and chase eventually led to the Gibson-Park try (with the help of Ronan O'Mahony). Leinster's leading tackler with 6 tackles.
11. Ica Nacewa - 8
Made up for being chased down by Zebo in first half by scoring a poacher's try in the same corner. Second try was much easier. A livewire throughout.
10. Johnny Sexton - 9
Sublime. Had a hand in all of Leinster's dangerous first half attacks. His defense was rabid. A promising display for Schmidt with November's wars to come. Sky's MOTM.
9. Luke McGrath - 7
Might have had a clever try off a Leinster scrum in the first half were it not for the dopey ref. Occasionally looked vulnerable at the scrum in the first half. 19 metres carried.
8. Jamie Heaslip - 7
Was overshadowed slightly by his opponent in the red #8 jersey, but who wouldn't be? Look up solid in the dictionary and you'll see a photo of Jamie.
— Paul leggett (@pauly_leggett) October 8, 2016
7. Jordi Murphy - 7
Not a bad day in the office covering for van der Flier. Lit up the first half with big tackles, notably one on Sweetnam that earned Leinster their second three points.
Jordi Murphy Monster ... #LEINvMUN
— Brian Donnelly (@bptd1234) October 8, 2016
6. Rhys Ruddock - 7
Played a huge role in a dogged and durable performance from the Leinster backline.
5. Ian Nagle - 6
Burly and reliable in the middle of strong Leinster defense.
4. Devin Toner - 7
Powerful at scrum and lineout and even better, four wonderful metres carried.
3. Tadhg Furlong - 6
Brought grit and aggression to the Leinster scrum and crossed the gainline 3 times.
2. Sean Cronin - 6
Leinster lineout functioned perfectly during his 55+ minutes on the pitch.
1. Cian Healy - 6
Flashed that smile a few times in the first half, which we hadn't seen awhile. Only lasted 48 minutes.
Jack McGrath - 6 (on for Healy)
Kept Leinster's scrum solid as Munster wilted in the second half.
Tracy (for Cronin) - 7
Seemed to be everywhere after being introduced for Cronin. Cullen will be delighted with the penalty that he won on the final whistle.
Ross Moloney (for Nagle) - 7
Made an instant impact by helping Leinster win a penalty.
Mike Ross (for Furlong) - 6
Leinster's scrum was assured for 80 minutes.
Jamison Gibson-Park (for Luke McGrath) - 7
Right place, right time to score the comedy of errors try that sealed the match.
Joey Carberry (for Sexton)
Noel Reid (for Kearney)
Simon Zebo - 6
Made one brilliant try-saving tackle on Isa Nacewa early in the game. Played in Jaco Taute for Munster's second try of the game.
6 | Zeebs makes the try saving tackle on Isa, some chase back #LEIvMUN
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) October 8, 2016
Darren Sweetnam - 6
Apart from probably being at fault for Isa Nacewa's try - he gave the Leinster player space on the outside when it should not have been available - the Corkman was very good. He did not get much opportunity to carry ball in the first half but chased and competed for Conor Murray's box kicks superbly.
Keith Earls - 5
Replaced by Jaco Taute after 57 minutes after having a pretty poor game. Carried twice for 16 metres.
Rory Scannell - 6
Carried plenty of ball gaining 26 metres in total. Also made eight tackles.
Ronan O'Mahony - 5
Made a terrible error for Leinster's third try. Saw very little of the ball throughout the game.
Tyler Bleyendaal - 7
Kicked very well out of hand. Made one mini-break early in the second half which nearly got CJ Stander away for a try.
Conor Murray - 6
Passed well but his box kicks were mostly ineffective.
Dave Kilcoyne - 5
Replaced by James Cronin six minutes into the second half. Left the game looking uneasy on his feet.
Niall Scannell - 6
Carried a lot of ball and made ground, 26 metres in all. Was among the numerous Munster players guilty of handling errors when in a good position. Made eight tackles.
John Ryan - 6
Scrummaged well. Made eight tackles.
Donnacha Ryan - 5
Carried six times for 13 metres. Also made seven tackles.
Billy Holland - 6
Made 11 tackles, the joint most of any Munster player.
Peter O'Mahony - 6
The Munster captain made his first start since his return from injury. Bold decision to go for a try rather than take the points led to him touching down for Munster's first points of the game.
Replaced at half-time by Jack O'Donoghue after taking a knock in the first half.
Tommy O'Donnell - 7
Along with Billy Holland, O'Donnell was Munster's top tackler with 11. Also carried three times for 21 metres.
CJ Stander - 8
As usual, Stander was ball carrier-in-chief for Munster. Took the ball in hand 15 times, making 51 metres. Also made eight tackles and won one turnover. Munster's best player.
Jack O'Donoghue - 7 (for Peter O'Mahony)
Had an immediate impact on the game after coming on as a replacement for captain Peter O'Mahony at half-time.
James Cronin - 6 (for Dave Kilcoyne)
Nearly got a try shortly after entering the game but it was not allowed due to a double movement.
Jaco Taute - 6 (for Keith Earls)
Got Munster's second try of the game.