WE HAVE DELVED into the history books [real and online] and tracked down some vital statistics on Munster’s inter-pro rivalry with Leinster. The stats tell an interesting story on who the to performers have been since the inception of the Celtic League [now RaboDirect Pro12] and the Heineken Cup.
The first Celtic League tie between the teams was in December 2001 and it resulted in Leinster claiming the league title. Nathan Spooner was the goal-kicking hero for the Blues as they triumphed 24-20. The other meeting that season was an inter-pro, with no silverware up for grabs. It resulted in a 6-6 draw. The two sides did not meet the following season — Leinster had their hands full with the bizarrely named Bristol Shoguns.
They resumed their professional-era rivalry in September 2003 and Jeremy Staunton kicked Munster to 15-8 win. Five months later and the winning margin was higher as Munster, with Eoin Reddan starting at scrum-half, won 24-13. Munster claimed three of the next five matches with the Blues highlight coming from a Felipe Contepomi masterclass in a 35-23 win. Revenge came four months later, in April 2006, as Munster hammered Leinster 30-6 at Lansdowne Road en route to a Heineken Cup final win in Cardiff.
Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
2006/07 was all red but Leinster secured a double the following season. In 2008/09, Munster took both league ties but were stunned 25-6 in blue-wash at a sold-out Croke Park. Leinster went on from that semi final triumph to claim their first ever Heineken Cup. The heavy defeat hung over Munster the next season as they last all three of their games to Michael Cheika’s men, including a record league defeat, during which there were tries for Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy.
Munster began 2010/11 on the back foot but edged Leinster 24-23 in a thrilling tie at Thomnd Park before breaking their rivals’ hearts in the league final. Jonny Sexton won his kicking duel with Ronan O’Gara to deliver a 24-21 win for Leinster straight after the 2011 World Cup. The remaining encounter in 2011/12 and the two in 2012/13 went to Joe Schmidt’s side — O’Driscoll’s try-scoring intervention proving crucial in a fractious match.
Earlier this season Keith Earls scored for his second inter-pro in a row as Munster beat Leinster for the first time under Rob Penney. The two sides meet again at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening with Leinster slightly ahead in terms of wins since the beginning of the league [and including Heineken Cup matches].
Leinster v Munster stats
- Most games played: Gordon D’Arcy , Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll 
- Top points scorer: Ronan O’Gara [215 points]
- Top try scorers: Brian O’Driscoll , Shane Horgan , Gordon D’Arcy , Marcus Horan 
- Top points scorer in a game: Felipe Contepomi [25 for Leinster in a 35-23 win, Dec 2005]
- Record win Munster: 30-6 [April 2006]
- Record win Leinster: 30-0 [October 2009]
- Draws: 1 [6-6 in 2002]
- Leinster wins: 14
- Munster wins: 12