Click here for photos from Leinster’s climatic bonus point win against Celtic League leaders Munster at the RDS on Saturday.
Pictured above: Leinster’s Felipe Contepomi touching down the first of a late try double at the RDS. The talismanic fly-half scored 25 of the home side’s points to boost his tally as the Celtic League’s top scorer this season up to 147 points.
Leinster coach Michael Cheika praised the 28-year-old Argentinian international afterwards, saying: “Felipe’s a very talented player. Like I’ve said a few times this year, he’s in a good place at the moment. He’s playing good football and he’s enjoying it.
“I know he has a kid arriving soon, which should be interesting for him. Let’s hope the late nights don’t stuff him up! He’s a very important part of our team and now that Brian (O’Driscoll) is back to take over the leadership, he can manage his game a little bit more.
“I didn’t know much about Felipe before I came here but I’m very pleasantly surprised by his ability and temperament. He’s a good natured fella as well, and the ultimate professional.”
Ireland and Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll, who was back starting in his role as Leinster skipper for the first time this season on Saturday, leads the charge for a kick through under pressure from Ronan O’Gara (left) and Denis Leamy (centre). O’Driscoll managed to take in 72 minutes of the action at the RDS before being replaced. He said afterwards: “I never thought I’d make the full eighty minutes. It (My shoulder) was a little sore at the end but it was my second game in six months, so I have to gradually work my way back into it.
This win was extra special as it was against Munster – it was very important for our position in the league table and it’s good to beat the leaders as well. The manner of win and the style of rugby that we played was what was most pleasing.”
Shane Horgan goes in for Leinster’s second try – a score that helped them to a 21-9 advantage at half-time.
Munster lock Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll chat after the final whistle at the RDS. O’Connell scored his second try in as many games since coming back from a hand injury, but Leinster were unstoppable. Coach Declan Kidney said of only Munster’s second loss at the hands of Leinster in eight encounters: “We dug a hole for ourselves but I would hate to take anything away from Leinster’s performance (today).
“I thought they played well. We know we didn’t play as well as we might do. We managed to claw our way to a little bit of daylight and looked as though we were going to get something out of the game, but we didn’t quite and the final score is all that matters.”
Girvan Dempsey tries to break through the tackle of Munster centre Barry Murphy.
Munster fly-half Ronan O’Gara shares a joke with Brian O’Driscoll after the final whistle at the RDS.
Flying Ireland winger Denis Hickie making his comeback after dislocating his right fibula in october. Hickie replaced Brian O’Driscoll after 72 minutes.
Paul O’Connell stretches over for his try during the second half, which reduced the deficit for Munster back to five points – 21-16.
Ronan O’Gara displays the nasty injury below his left eye that forced the Munster fly-half off for treatement in injury-time.
Shane Horgan is tackled by Ronan O’Gara with Ireland internationals Kieran Lewis and Malcolm O’Kelly in support.
**All photos by Dan Sheridan and Morgan Treacy of Inpho Photography**