Leinster extended their winning streak to 24 games and moved one step closer to regaining their Guinness PRO14 crown with a clinical 13-3 victory over Munster at the Aviva Stadium.
Conditions turned the much-anticipated Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final showdown between Leinster and Munster into a war of attrition.
The reigning champions produced a typically gritty display in difficult conditions to maintain their unbeaten campaign, with Ronan Kelleher’s first-half try proving decisive.
Johnny Sexton used all his experience to pull the strings for the hosts, as well as adding two penalties and a conversion, to secure Leinster’s ninth Final appearance in 11 years.
Munster was left to rue two missed JJ Hanrahan penalties after he gave the visitors an early lead as the Red Army was knocked out at the Semi-Final stage by Leinster for the third year in a row.
Leinster boss Leo Cullen praised his players for finding a way to win, stressing that the performance always plays second fiddle to the result at this stage of the competition.
“It was a frustrating game, one for the purists,” he said. “You could see Munster’s strategy, they were just trying to box kick and play this pressure game so we probably lacked accuracy at times.
“They definitely frustrated us but getting through the semi-final to the final was the most important thing and we’ve managed to do that so full credit to all the players involved,”
For Munster, Johann van Graan said the two missed second-half penalties were crucial. “We had limited opportunities in a Semi-Final and we didn't convert our opportunities but we as a group, we win together and we lose together.
“We'll take those penalties as a group. I thought we built a lot of pressure between the 50th and 65th minute, and then we didn't convert those chances.
“Leinster went down the other side of the pitch and went up 13-3. We had an opportunity on the 77th minute to get that maul try and they stopped it.”