De Allende broke in the opening minutes, turned Leinster fullback Jordan Lamour in circles, then offloaded to Conor Murray for the first of his two tries as Munster recorded their first win in Dublin since 2014.

While it would be easy to say that Leinster had one eye on the European Cup semi-final clash with La Rochelle this coming weekend, fielding only three players that started in their Guinness PRO14 final win over Munster, the victory was important for Munster as they broke their duck and won away from home to lift some of the pressure on Van Graan.

But the Munster coach wasn’t going overboard after the 27-3 win, saying it was a step up from their narrow loss to Toulouse in the European Cup as they continued to build.

“We’re very happy about the result, it was a very physical game with two quality sides who went at each other," said Van Graan, Springbok assistant coach from 2012 to 2016.

"The first try we scored was a very good broken field attack, it was a titanic battle and once we got our noses in front I felt we kept the pressure on. It’s very good for this group to come and win in the RDS.

“I think we took some of the lessons we learned in the PRO14 final, we worked hard in the last few weeks. I think it was a real physical battle. It’s the first round of Rainbow Cup and, win or lose, we’ll review this and move on.

“I thought it was a very good team performance by all involved. Tactically we picked in a specific way, our starters did really well, and the impact from the bench was really good. I felt it was a good build on the Toulouse performance from a few weeks ago," added Van Graan.


De Allende’s performance made him an easy canditate for the Man of the Match candidate, and the big midfielder is hitting his stride at the right time in the season with the Castle Lager Lions Series looming for the Springboks.

Elsewhere, George North’s injury while turning out for the Ospreys against Cardiff Blues has put his British & Irish Lions hopes in doubt.

North appeared to get stuck in the turf as he suffered a leg injury in the 36-14 win for his side and there is real concern the 105-cap utility back may not be ready when Warren Gatland names his side to tour South Africa.

A last minute try from replacement winger Peter Sullivan saw Connacht shock Ulster at Kingspan Stadium to open their Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup campaign with a win, which also saw the captain’s challenge trial law used to good effect to give Connacht only their second victory in Belfast since 1960.

Benetton also shocked Glasgow Warriors with a 46-19 victory in Treviso on Saturday, scoring six tries to three in an excellent performance, while Scarlets were on the losing side in a 12-try thriller, going down 52-32 to a rampant Dragons side in the other Welsh derby on Sunday.

In the weekend’s other game, Edinburgh beat Zebre 24-18.

South African sides will kick off the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA on Saturday when the Cell C Sharks travel to Cape Town to face the DHL Stormers, and the Vodacom Bulls take on the Emirates Lions in the other game on Saturday. 

Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup Results - Round 1:

Ulster 24 Connacht 26
Edinburgh 24 Zebre 18
Benetton 46 Glasgow Warriors 19
Ospreys 36 Cardiff Blues 14
Leinster 3 Munster 27
Dragons 52 Scarlets 32