Munster roar past Lions at Musgrave Park

Munster roar past Lions at Musgrave Park

Munster players celebrate the final whistle

Munster 33

Emirates Lions 3 

A brilliant solo try from Liam Coombes in the 76th minute, and a brace from Scott Buckley, ensured that Munster earned all five points on offer in their Round 12 URC clash against the Emirates Lions at Musgrave Park on Friday evening.

Playing with a near gale at their backs the Lions managed to open the scoring when outhalf Jordan Hendrikse split the posts from a penalty from 40m in the 6th minute.

Scott Buckley started the game on the dry pine, but he was thrust into the fray as early as the 4th minute, when starting hooker Diarmuid Barron was forced off injured, and by the 10th minute he was scoring his first try since the famous 2021 triumph over Wasps, when he found himself at the back of a brilliantly executed rolling maul off an attacking lineout.

The beefy Lions front row had the Munster scrum in disarray in the early shoves, and it looked like a penalty try was coming around the quarter mark, but somehow Munster managed to hold them out and clear their lines.

Munster's Liam Coombes makes a break on his way to scoring his side’s fourth try of the match
Munster's Liam Coombes makes a break on his way to scoring his side’s fourth try of the match

Playing into the strong wind, Munster were to loathe to kick away possession, and were extremely patient with ball in hand. After a lengthy spell of possession John Hodnett and captain Jack O’Donoghue combined to get Paddy Patterson away, and while the scrum half was held up just short, O’Donoghue was on hand to blast over from close range in the 29th minute, to leave Munster leading 12-3 at the break.

Munster were again patient in possession at the resumption, and they got their reward when scrum Paddy Patterson sniped straight through a huge gap in the Lions midfield defence to race under the posts for the third try in the 50th minute.

At that point Munster were favourites to gain a bonus point victory, but the six penalties they conceded at scrums seriously undermined that goal. But, just when it seemed like they would be frustrated up stepped Liam Coombes in the 76th minute with a sublime try. The Skibbereen winger picked up a loose kick, facing his own try line, and when he turned and burst through the first tackle the Musgrave pitch opened up for him and he had the speed to slalom around the cover to score a great try that had the old ground buzzing.

Munster's Jack O'Donoghue celebrates after the game
Munster's Jack O'Donoghue celebrates after the game

There was even time for another Buckley try from another rolling maul in the final minute, to put the icing on the cake.

Scorers for Munster: Healy (4 cons), Buckley (2 tries), O’Donoghue, Patterson, L Coombes (1 try each) Lions: Hendrikse (1 pen) Munster: Haley; L Coombes, Fekitoa, Scannell, Daly; Healy, Patterson; Wycherley, Barron, Salanoa; Kleyn, G Coombes; O'Donoghue (capt), Hodnett, Kendellen.

 Subs: Buckley for Barron (4), Kilcoyne for Wycherley (32), Archer for Salanoa (45), Campbell for Haley (55), Hurley for Kleyn (57), Murray and Goggin for Patterson and Scannell (59), O’Sullivan for Hodnett (72).

Emirates Lions: Horn; Pienaar, van Wyk, Louw (capt), van der Merwe; Hendrikse, van den Berg; JP Smith, PJ Botha, Ntlabakanye; Venter, Landsberg; Cairns, van Heerden, Tshituka.

Subs: Lombard for Hendrikse (40), Alberts for Venter (45), Naude for JP Smith (50), Rass for van Wyk (55), R Smith for Ntlabakanye (66), JP Smith for Naude (73), Warner for van den Berg (77).

Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU)

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