James Ryan presents the player of the match award to his Leinster teammate Joe McCarthy following the defeat of Ulster at the Aviva Stadium. [Inpho/Ben Brady]

Leinster, Munster advance to Saturday semis in URC

Leinster 43; Ulster 20

If Leinster are to coax some silverware onto their sideboard this season, they are going to have to do it the hard way, despite this emphatic victory over Ulster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The fact that they lost to the same opposition in an earlier round means they are deprived of a home draw for the semi-final of this United Rugby Championship clash against the  South African Bulls who they play away this Saturday as they seek a place in the final, which might be against old rivals Munster. Following the Leinster game in South Africa, Munster will play Glasgow Warriors at Thomond at 6 p.m., local time.

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The trip to Loftus Versfeld this weekend will see Leinster enter a  game unusually as underdogs against a side who beat the team at the same stage two years ago.

On Saturday in front of 18,000 fans - a comedown from the hype leading up to and including the third Champions Cup final loss in a row to French opposition in the guise of Toulouse - Leinster were always dominant. 

Tries in the first half from Robbie Henshaw and James Lowe gave the home province the upper hand with Lowe again, Jordan Larmour, Josh van der Flier and Ross Molony all touching down after the break to ease to victory despite replies from Dave McCann, Stewart Moore and Mike Lowry.

Robbie Henshaw making a break for the home side at the Aviva Stadium. [Inpho/Ben Brady]

Munster always had too much class for a plucky Ospreys side in their 23-7 victory at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Head Coach Graeme Rowntree said he was happy at how they had managed their way to victory.

"It was just composed, it was smart, it was cup rugby. You know, we weren't perfect. Half time was about improving our discipline. We made a bright start. They came back in with that try immediately after we scored early on.

"Discipline was not great, we spoke about that half time, but third quarter they repelled us on their goal line, which gave them energy. We couldn't get over there, actually we were quite composed after not scoring in that first 10 minutes after half time. But then the second half we managed well, tactically, kicking-wise in greasy conditions,” he stressed.