Munster trailed by three points at half-time, but were then overwhelmed. Steve Haag Sports/INPHO
Shark tank

Munster KOd in Champions Cup as Sharks make a statement in South Africa

A dominant third quarter from the hosts changed the complexion of the game.

LAST UPDATE | 1 Apr 2023

Sharks 50

Munster 35

Mike Greenaway reports from Hollywoodbets Kings Park Stadium, Durban

IT WAS RUDYARD Kipling who said that only mad dogs and Englishmen ventured out in Africa’s mid-day sun and the same could be said for the Irishmen of Munster, who perished in the second half of their Heineken Cup match in Durban after having made a strong fist of it in the first 40 minutes.

The last-16 match kicked off at 1.30pm local time and the balmy 26 degrees heat, coupled with the high humidity, undoubtedly took its toll. It was a tense affair at 17-14 to the Sharks at half time only for the home team to put their foot on the accelerator and hit 50 points half an hour later.

The return to form of eight current Springboks in the Sharks team surely had something to do with it, too — Siya Kolis et a had played the week before after six weeks away and were ghosts of themselves but on Saturday they pitched up and led the way.

The Sharks began the match with all the urgency that was missing the week before when they sank without trace against the Scarlets and five minutes of opening pressure inevitably saw Munster concede a penalty for Curwin Bosch to goal.

But the restart saw the visitors surge onto the attack and accurate phase play created a free run down the openside touchline for winger Shane Daly to score a neat try.

The Sharks replied in style. Winger Werner Kok counter-attacked from deep after taking a high ball and he found a gap for his left wing, Makazole Mapimpi, to scythe through and the World Cup winner set up a sprint to the line for scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse.

As the game went into the second quarter, Munster wing Calvin Nash could not deal with a crosskick into the sun from Bosch and from the scrum in the Munster red zone, the Sharks won a penalty. The kick went to the corner and off the back of the maul, Bok enforcer Eben Etzebeth crashed over in what was a bread-and-butter score for the Sharks pack and a costly mistake by Munster.

Once more Munster fought back and patient phase play in the Sharks’ half eventually worked loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne over in the 35th minute.

The score would remain 17-14 to the home team at the break and there was a concern for the Irishmen as to how their stamina would last.

It certainly started well for the Sharks, with a try after four minutes, a regulation kick to the corner and drive over the line by Bok hooker Bongi Mbonambi

Two minutes later, there was a carbon copy of that exact movement, Mbonambi bagging his second. Suddenly it was 29-14 and with 30 minutes to go, it was going to take a big effort for Munster to come back.

It should have been all over a minute later when Bosch butchered a try. There had been a 40m break by centre Lukhanyo Am, who fed Bosch, but the flyhalf then ignored a three-man overlap and passed the ball the other way where there was not a soul.

Bosch’s blushes were spared when the ever-industrious Kok scored shortly after, a well-deserved reward for arguably the best Shark on the day.

Bosch himself then made amends when he took advantage of a gap near the touchline and he scorched 50m to the line.

Replacement hooker Diarmuid Barron pulled one back for Munster but at 43-21 with 15 minutes to go the game was just about up.

That was the case when Mapimpi intercepted to score a 40m try although respectability was added to the scoreboard late in the game by fullback Mike Haley and replacement prop Josh Wycherley.

shane-daly-celebrates-with-mike-haley-after-scoring Shane Daly celebrates his early try. Fred Porcu / INPHO Fred Porcu / INPHO / INPHO

Sharks scorers

Tries: Jaden Hendrikse, Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi [2}, Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch, Makazole Mapimpi.

Conversions: Curwin Bosch [6]

Penalties: Curwin Bosch [1]

Munster scorers

Tries: Shane Daly, Dave Kilcoyne, Diarmuid Barron, Mike Haley, Josh Wycherley.

Conversions: Jack Crowley [5]

SHARKS: Boeta Chamberlain; Werner Kok, Lukhanyo Am, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Makazole Mapimpi; Curwin Bosch, Jaden Hendrikse [Grant Williams, ‘17]; Ox Nche [Ntuthuko Mchunu, ‘72], Bongi Mbonambi [Kerron van Vuuren, ‘72], Thomas du Toit; Gerbrandt Grobler, Eben Etzebeth [Emile van Heerden ‘40], Siya Kolisi (captain), Vincent Tshituka, Sikhumbuzo Notshe.

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash [Alex Kendellen, ‘59], Antoine Frisch, Malakai Fekitoa, Shane Daly [Joey Carberry, ‘70]; Jack Crowley, Craig Casey [Conor Murray, ‘70]; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell [Dairmuid Barron, ‘55], Roman Salanoa [Stephen Archer, ‘19], Jean Kleyn, RG Snyman [Fineen Wycherley ‘65], Peter O’Mahoney (captain) [Jack O’Donoghue, ‘73], John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

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