Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Tigers don't get a sniff as Sweetnam stars in magnificent Munster win

Erasmus’ men never looked in danger with brilliant performances all over the park.

Munster 38

Leicester Tigers 0

Sean Farrell reports from Thomond Park

MUNSTER TOOK THEIR winning run to seven games in ruthless fashion as they systematically tore Leicester Tigers apart this Champions Cup Pool 1 clash.

A late penalty try cruelly denied Jaco Taute a hat-trick after his earlier second half touchdowns, but it did deliver the bonus point victory after Simon Zebo was the first to cross the whitewash in the first half.

Everything Munster did was brilliantly clinical. This is the ‘cup rugby’ they revel in.

Early on, they probed Leicester’s left side with the impressive aerial prowess of Darren Sweetnam. Though his high-fielding didn’t immediately result in clean breaks, the position they yielded was enough for Munster as Peter O’Mahony and Tommy O’Donnell arrived to torment the Tigers breakdown.

Bleyendaal looked flawless off the tee, casually stroking the ball over from 35-plus metres to keep the scoreboard ticking every upwards. Munster weren’t making many inroads in the Leicester 22, but they were 12 – 0 to the good before the visitors knew what was hitting them.

More often than not, it was CJ Stander on one of his 20 carries, clever poaches or muscular chokes.

When Ed Slater was sin-binned for not rolling away, Bleyendaal finally erred, pulling his kick left of the posts. But the man advantage soon paid divdends for Rassie Erasmus’ men and once within sniffing distance of the try-line, a deft reverse pass from Conor Murray found Zebo on a charge through the defence and under the posts.

That opened up a half-time lead of 19 – 0 and an excellent improvised catch from Keith Earls and his subsequent chase set the platform for Taute to barge over Munster’s second try nine minutes after the restart.

Taute was in again just before the hour mark, this time with Munster showing the width of their game as Zebo’s long pass was followed by a weaving Sweetnam run before the Corkman offloaded to allow Taute canter over.

Darren Sweetnam with George Worth Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

On a quiet day for Manu Tuilagi, his one moment in sharp focus brought a yellow card for a swinging arm. The visitors almost survived the full sin-bin period, but Sweetnam once again unlocked the defence. The race for the wing’s chip over the top wa won by Taute and he was dragged to the ground after a deft touch put the ball beyond the try-line.

A hat-trick would have been a fine reward to cap a superb team effort from Munster, but their 10th point after two European games will suit them just fine.




Tries: S Zebo, J Taute (2), Penalty try

Conversions: T Bleyendaal (3/4)

Penalties: T Bleyendaal (4/5)


Penalties: F Burns (0/1)

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As it happened: Munster v Leicester Tigers, Champions Cup

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