Victorious Munster coach Declan Kidney has praised his players for sticking to the game-plan in order to beat Ulster - against their better judgement. The Munster men won 15-9 at Lansdowne Road to reach next week's Celtic League Final, where they will face Leinster.

Ulster had tried to win the game by putting a forward into their midfield but Munster knew what to expect and opted for route one as Ronan O'Gara kicked the ball in behind Ulster's lines rather than playing a running game.

“Ulster were crowding the midfield by putting a guy in there from the line-out so there wasn't a lot of point us attacking that area,” Kidney said. “So we had to try and do something different and try and make them turn and in fairness to the players they stuck to the plan. They don't like doing it but it was what had to be done to win the game.”

Kidney said the semi-final was a great advert for Irish rugby, adding: “The physicality of it all was there to be seen. The 30 players out there were in top form and gave their all in what was a great game. This was real cup rugby. We've been hearing for years how tough the Zurich League is but I don't think you'll get it any tougher than it was out there today.”

Now Munster must plan for their return visit to Dublin to play Leinster on their home patch and Kidney said: “All you can do is improve from one week to the next. We've done that, we had about 15 knock-ons against Llanelli last week in the quarter-final and we reduced that by half today. Now we'll travel up again next Friday and have another go. It's just great to be in a final, we just love taking part in these competitions.”

Filed by Sinéad Kissane