Munster loss sees Leinster in pole position

1 March 2014; Gerhard Van Den Heever, Munster, races ahead of Olly Barkley, Scarlets to score his side's first try. Celtic League 2013/14, Round 16, Scarlets v Munster, Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli, Wales. Picture credit: Steve Pope / SPORTSFILE
MUNSTER suffered a setback in the RaboDirect PRO 12 on Saturday night when they lost 18-13 to the Scarlets in Wales.

MUNSTER suffered a setback in the RaboDirect PRO 12 on Saturday night when they lost 18-13 to the Scarlets in Wales.

Coupled with Leinster’s win over Glasgow in the RDS, it now means that Munster drop to second and trail Leinster by two points. And it also almost certainly means that whoever wins between Leinster and Munster in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, March 29, will finish top of the league at the end of the regular season and so be in a good position to reap the benefits that come with that.

Munster are on 58 points, eight clear of third-placed Ulster, who have a game in hand, and finishing second would be enough to secure a home semi-final in the league. However, top place would ensure a home semi and final - should they get to it - something which would no doubt please Munster’s money counters.

Munster now have a three-week break following Saturday’s loss as the 6 Nations is the only rugby show for the next two weekends. Munster’s next game is against Treviso in Thomond Park on Saturday, March 22, and they are in Dublin a week later to play Leinster. The following Toulouse come to Limerick for the Heineken Cup quarter-final.

Munster’s loss on Saturday brought to an end their four-game winning streak in the league and they also missed out on the chance of doing a clean sweep on the Welsh sides this season.

The outstanding Gerhard van den Heever scored a try in the opening half to help them to a 13-8 lead at the break but the South African winger was to be denied by the TMO in the second half as Munster were controversially denied by the officials.

For more rugby coverage, checkout our 12-page supplement inside.