Weeks on from a chastening Guinness Pro14 final loss to Leinster, Munster were able to exact some revenge on Saturday in their Rainbow Cup opener.

Against a much-changed Leinster, Johann van Graan's side were able to win out by 24 points at the RDS and for Donal Lenihan, the selections opened up an opportunity for Munster to lay ghosts of recent head-to-head defeats to rest.

"From the minute we saw the two teams named before the game, you just felt that this was a game that Munster had to win," the RTÉ Rugby analyst told Sunday Sport.

"To put it into context, Leinster only had three of the players who would probably start against La Rochelle next weekend.

"They had their fourth choice half-back, so you're comparing chalk and cheese by looking at that game and comparing it to the Pro14 final a couple of weeks ago.

CJ Stander makes a pitchside phone call following Munster's victory

"From that perspective, Munster got out of it what they needed but it's fair to say Leinster had more pressing issues at hand, not least a semi-final in Europe."

Lenihan believes Leinster will be going into that semi-final against La Rochelle "in a position of strength" even amid uncertainty over the availability of some players returning from injury.

"I think (James Ryan) will be involved in the matchday squad, Garry Ringrose hasn't been out as long as James Ryan so I could see him starting," he said.

"But Leinster are in a fantastic position when you consider that Ryan Baird will also be under consideration for that second row slot.

"Caelan Doris, they'd hope would be back in contention as well. But you look at Rhys Ruddock, Jack Conan and Josh van der Flier have been outstanding in the back row for Leinster in the last number of games.

"Leo Cullen is picking from a position of strength and Leinster given that they can welcome those players back into the selection process."

Lenihan, a former Ireland captain and manager, believes some of the performances can help some Munster players make a late case for inclusion in the British and Irish Lions squad.

Andrew Porter and Leinster team-mates departing the RDS pitch after losing to Munster

"For a lot of those players it was their last chance to play a game before the Lions squad is announced on Thursday," he said, adding that the Leinster contingent would have a further opportunity to impress Warren Gatland next Sunday.

The Rainbow Cup has also seen new rules trialed - the 20 minute red card, the captain's challenge and the goal-line drop-out - but Lenihan added that their use was not in evidence during the Leinster-Munster match.

"They'll take a while to bed in but they weren't really in evidence in the game until that controversy at the end when CJ Stander had confusion with the referee - a decision has to be made by the referee before you can challenge it - so from that point of view, it will take a while to bed in," he said.