MUNSTER 13 LEICESTER TIGERS 17, Musgrave Park
Scorers: Munster: Try: Denis Leamy; Con: Paul Warwick; Pens: Paul Warwick 2
Leicester Tigers: Tries: Alesana Tuilagi 2; Cons: Toby Flood 2; Pen: Toby Flood
Denis Leamy has been sidelined since injuring cruciate knee ligaments in Munster's Heineken Cup victory in Perpignan back in December, but he returned to action in this 17-13 defeat to the Aviva Premiership champions on Leeside.
Ian Dowling, Donnacha Ryan, Felix Jones and Darragh Hurley also made welcome returns from injury.
There was also a Munster debut for 28-year-old former All Black centre Sam Tuitupou, who arrived from Worcester Warriors during the summer.
It was quite a scrappy first half in Cork, as both sets of players struggled to shake off the pre-season cobwebs.
Lining out in their new black and green away strip, Munster drew first blood in the 17th minute when Paul Warwick made no mistake with a penalty from 50 yards out.
Captained by Irish international full-back Geordan Murphy, Leicester brought an experienced squad to Musgrave Park and they took the lead in the 22nd minute when Samoan international Alesana Tuilagi got in for the opening try of the game, with Murphy involved in the build-up. Toby Flood added the extras to give the visitors a 7-3 lead.
Warwick added a second penalty for Munster with 37 minutes on the clock, but Flood responded with a penalty on the stroke of half-time to restore Leicester's four-point cushion heading in at the break.
Leamy marked his return with a try in the 47th minute after a good block down by Donnacha Ryan. Warwick added the conversion to put Munster 13-10 ahead.
The home side's lead lasted just ten minutes, however, as Tuilagi scored his second try of the game to put the visitors back in front. Again, Flood converted from a difficult angle.
Munster coach Tony McGahan introduced several of his younger guns from the bench in the closing stages, a number of whom impressed, none more so than Simon Zebo.
The 20-year-old winger made a couple of impressive breaks to trouble the Tigers' defence, but Richard Cockerill's side managed to hold on for the victory.
MUNSTER: Scott Deasy; Denis Hurley, Danny Barnes, Sam Tuitupou, Ian Dowling; Paul Warwick, Duncan Williams; Wian du Preez, Denis Fogarty, Stephen Archer, Billy Holland, Dave Foley, Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O'Donnell, Denis Leamy (capt).
Replacements used: Felix Jones for Tuitupou, Peter O'Mahony for O'Donnell, Ian Nagle for Foley, Darragh Hurley for Archer (all half-time), Conor Murray for Williams, James Coughlan for Ryan (both 55 mins), Mike Sherry for Fogarty (60), Paddy Butler for Leamy (69), Simon Zebo for Dowling, Corey Hircock for Barnes (both 70).
LEICESTER TIGERS: Geordan Murphy (capt); Scott Hamilton, Anthony Allen, Matt Smith, Alesana Tuilagi; Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Dan Cole, George Chuter, Boris Stankovich, Calum Green, George Skivington, Thomas Waldrom, Ben Woods, Jordan Crane.
Replacements used: Marcos Ayerza for Waldrom (34 mins-half-time, temp), Manu Tuilagi for Hamilton, Martin Castrogiovanni for Cole, D Hipkiss for Smith (all half-time), Ed Slater for Crane (53), James Grindal for Youngs, Jeremy Staunton for Flood (both 60), Scott Hamilton for Murphy (67).
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU)