Wasps 14 Munster 35
IT may not have passed the miracle match in Munster folklore, but a thrown-together Reds side certainly added to the myth at the Coventry Building Society Arena on Sunday.
Their brilliant victory over Wasps in the Heineken Champions Cup was inspired by two brilliant tries by young Cork debutants Patrick Campbell and Scott Buckley.
Munster had 34 players ruled out due to the issues around their recent ill-fated trip to South Africa, but it was not like their opponents had a clean bill of health either.
Wasps went into this weekend already short 18 senior players, and when five additional players were ruled out on the morning of the match suddenly it was a level looking playing field.
😍😍😍— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) December 13, 2021
Patrick Campbell's first Munster try on his debut was pure class 👏👏👏
The 19-year-old @GreencoreGroup Academy full-back came up through the ranks at @PBCRugby & is a @YoungMunsterRFC clubman 💪#MunsterStartsHere #WASvMUN #SUAF 🔴
Munster needed huge displays from their leaders and in only the second-minute captain Peter O’Mahony came up with a huge play as he bust a gut to make a try-saving tackle in the right corner to deny Wasps openside Thomas Young what looked a certain try.
Munster then worked their way down the pitch and opened the scoring through a Joey Carbery penalty in the 6th minute to settle a few nerves, and they got another early break two minutes later when Jimmy Gopperth’s long-range penalty attempt came back off the upright.
Given the inexperienced nature of the front five the Munster scrum looked in serious trouble early on but Munster managed to survive a few scary moments.
A huge moment arrived in the 25th minute when Wasps captain Brad Shields was given a harsh looking straight red card for a high tackle on Dave Kilcoyne. Carbery missed the simple penalty attempt from straight in front, but he got an immediate opportunity to make amends when he split the posts from a much more difficult attempt a minute later to double Munster’s advantage.
The game then became extremely loose, with both sides running the ball and coughing it up, with the sequence ending with Wasps centre Michael Le Bourgeois putting away his number eight Alfie Barbeary for an excellent try in the 31st minute to give the home side the lead.
The topsy turvy nature of the match continued with Munster going straight down the pitch to score a try of their own in the 35th minute. With a penalty advantage in hand, Conor Murray sent a speculative dink over the top in the Wasps in-goal area and the ball bounced fortuitously into the grateful arms of Keith Earls, for the easiest try of his long career.
Right on half time debutant lock Eoin O’Connor brilliantly charged down Sam Wolstenholme’s attempted box kick and when he regathered and fed Tadhg Beirne Munster looked certain to score, only for Wasps hooker Dan Frost to dive on the ball, killing any chance Munster had of capitalising, and he duly received a yellow card for the offence. Munster were not able to convert the opportunity, however, as a breathless first half ended with Munster leading 13-7.
Against 13 men Munster fancied themselves at the start of the half and they scored a sublime try in the 43rd minute, when the superb Tadhg Beirne and Andrew Conway made the initial in-roads down the right and when Munster got quick ball Carbery, Damien de Allende and Chris Farrell fed debutant Patrick Campbell.
The former Nemoe and Cork football underage star sliced right through the scrambling Wasps defence to score a sublime try and one that he will never forget, as he went from playing with PBC to scoring in the Champions Cup in the space of 12 months.
In fairness to Wasps, today was far from the first time Patrick Campbell has slalomed through a defence.pic.twitter.com/jKZq7B6djp— Eoin Sheahan (@EoinSheahan) December 12, 2021
Four minutes later Wasps were guilty of some terrible handling errors in midfield and Andrew Conway was able to pick up and walk in an early Christmas present of a try, and in the 56th minute, they secured the four-try bonus point when they perfectly executed a training ground lineout to send star of the match Scott Buckley from Kinsale in for a try on his debut.
Le Bourgeois scrambled over for a Wasps score in the 64th minute to give his side hope, but Carbery kept the scoreboard ticking with a three-pointer in the 67th minute, as Munster celebrated by emptying their bench full of rookies.