Match in 60 seconds: Munster break Leicester hearts to top Champions Cup pool

By Simon Lewis, Welford Road

LEICESTER TIGERS 16 MUNSTER 25

Key moment: In a pulsating game of nip-and-tuck, Munster were protecting a 22-16 lead at Welford Road with the clock winding down. A rare lineout malfunction in Leicester's corner gave the home side a sniff and when Manu Tuilagi gathered a head of steam things were looking ominous for the visitors until Ian Keatley snagged the powerful England centre as he broke out of his 22. Leicester retained but then carrier Luke Hamilton, a replacement flanker, was brought to ground and up stepped CJ Stander to clamp onto the ball, earning his side a crucial penalty that Keatley slotted to score a famous win. Tuilagi would threaten again but Munster held firm.

Talking point: What a week for Munster, doing a first-ever European double over Leicester Tigers since the introduction of home and away games in rounds three and four in 1999 either side of their captain Peter O'Mahony signing on for another three years. They even managed to appoint a new defence coach. Things are looking up heading into rounds five and six with Munster in the driving seat for a quarter-final place, with this vital away win safely in the bag.

Key man: Two days after he signed a three-year contract to end speculation he might be on the way out of his home province, Peter O'Mahony showed the IRFU he is worth every last cent of his new deal with a powerhouse performance. The flanker was a titan at the lineout, stealing three Leicester lineouts and contributed hugely at the breakdown as the Tigers upped the intensity at ruck time.

Ref watch: Mathieu Reynal extended Leicester's woes at the breakdown a week after Jerome Garces incurred Matt O'Connor's wrath but the Tigers' discipline was shocking in a first half in which they conceded 10 penalties for an array of indiscretions. The French official might have gone to his pocket much sooner but it was not until the stroke of half time that serial offender Dan Cole was yellow carded.

Munster replacement prop John Ryan followed in the second half, but the visitors could have no complaints about that after a hand came out of the ruck to slap the ball out of Ben Youngs' hands.

Penalties conceded: Leicester 14 Munster 7

Injuries: No injuries immediately apparent for Munster as they head into a run of three straight interprovincial derbies in the PRO14.

Next up: With the Champions Cup going into hibernation until mid-January, Munster return to Guinness PRO14 action, with a nine-day turnaround before they welcome arch rivals Leinster to Limerick for a St Stephen's Day derby.

Full match report:

Munster recorded their first win at Welford Road in 11 years with a 25-16 success over Leicester Tigers in the European Champions Cup this evening.

Mathew Tait had scored an early try for Tigers but their ill-discipline was punished by Ian Keatley, who kicked six penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking.

CJ Stander also went over from close range for Munster, who are now firmly in control of Pool 4 after back-to-back wins against the Tigers.

George Ford opened the scoring in just the second minute with a penalty but the Tigers were soon penalised at the other end and Keatley levelled from the tee.

A well-worked training ground move from a Tigers' line-out then saw Graham Kitchener send Tait through a big hole in the Munster defence for his first try in 36 matches for Leicester.

Ford added the extras but the home side's poor discipline allowed Munster back into the game with three easy penalties for Keatley making the score 12-10 at half-time.

Leicester's constant infringements were eventually punished by referee Mathieu Raynal as Dan Cole, after conceding his fifth penalty, was shown a yellow card.

Munster made their numerical advantage tell with a perfect start to the second half, as Peter O'Mahony stole a Tigers line-out and released Conor Murray to storm towards the line.

The Munster scrum-half was eventually brought down inches short of the line but Stander was on hand to pick and go and get the visitors' first try of the evening.

Leicester needed a spark and it came from winger Jonny May as he collected a loose ball in his own 22 and charged up field before kicking ahead to put the Tigers deep in Munster territory.

A penalty for the Tigers was soon sent over by Ford to bring the them back within six points.

Munster replacement John Ryan was then show a yellow card for an infringement at the ruck 10 metres from the away side's line and Ford made it 19-16 from the kicking tee.

Keatley missed his first kick of the evening with 64 minutes on the clock but made no mistake eight minutes later with Ryan back on the field, and the fly-half knocked over a sixth penalty in the dying moments to deny Tigers a crucial losing bonus point.


KEYWORDS:

 

Most Read in Sport