Munster hit Sharks for 18 points without replay to snatch a crucial draw in South Africa

Brilliant comeback secures fifth place in the URC for the Reds
Munster hit Sharks for 18 points without replay to snatch a crucial draw in South Africa

Peter O'Mahony of Munster wins possession in a lineout against Cell C Sharks. Picture: Darren Stewart/Sportsfile

Cell C Sharks 22 Munster 22 

MUNSTER came from 22-3 down to snatch an impressive draw against the Sharks in their final URC round clash at Durban on Saturday, in a result that guaranteed an away quarter-final against Glasgow.

The Sharks had dispatched Munster here just three weeks ago in a 50-35 rout in the Champions Cup. On that afternoon Graham Rowntree’s side had been beaten up at the breakdown and at set piece time, but lessons had been learned from that experience with Munster beating the Stormers last weekend in impressive fashion.

Shane Daly of Munster Rugby tackles Siya Kolisi of the Cell C Sharks. Picture: INPHO/Steve Haag Sports/Steve Haag
Shane Daly of Munster Rugby tackles Siya Kolisi of the Cell C Sharks. Picture: INPHO/Steve Haag Sports/Steve Haag

The Sharks picked up where they left off with an early maul try from hooker Bongi Mbonambi in the 6th minute, but Munster responded with a 16th-minute penalty from Jack Crowley, after an excellent turnover by their hooker Diarmuid Barron.

From a Munster perspective, the game took a turn for the worse in the 29th minute when Shane Daly was yellow carded for taking Curwin Bosch out on in the air and almost immediately the hosts capitalised with winger Werner Kok blasting over from close range after another effective Sharks maul.

Their scrum was then dismantled in the 38th minute, with the penalty ultimately being another Sharks try, as number eight Sikhumbuzo Notshe crashed over, to leave the scores at 19-3 at halftime.

Boeta Chamberlain kickstarted the second half with a 45m penalty to stretch the Sharks' lead, but Munster got a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty try when Aphelele Fassi was penalised for a deliberate knock-on from a Conor Murray pass when Daly looked likely to score.

Captain Peter O’Mahony was sin-binned a minute later but that didn't stop Munster registering the next try, which was a brilliant individual effort from Calvin Nash in the 54th minute. The winger collected a Ben Healy cross-field kick and then chipped ahead, and when Chamberlain botched his attempt at dotting down in his in-goal area the Limerick man was on hand to score.

Munster were back on level terms in the 65th minute when scrum-half Conor Murray sniped over from close range after a maul, and Ben Healy added the extras.

Munster thought they had won it, but they were held up over the line with the last play of the game, and the Sharks left breathing a sigh of relief.

Scorers for Sharks: B Chamberlain (1 pen, 1 con), C Bosch (1 con), B Mbonambi, W Kok, S Notshe (1 try each). 

Munster: J Crowley (1 pen), B Healy (1 con), Penalty try, C Nash, C Murray (1 try each).

SHARKS: B Chamberlain, W Kok, L Am, B Tapuai, M Mapimpi, C Bosch, G Williams, O Nché, B Mbonambi, T du Toit, J Labuschagne, G Grobler, S Kolisi (capt), V Tshituka, S Notshe.

Subs: P Buthelezi for S Kolisi (8), A Fassi C Bosch (34), K van Vuuren for B Mbonambi (62), R Hugo and R van Rensberg for J Labuschagne and B Tapuai (65), N Mchunu C Sadie for O Nché and T du Toit (69).

MUNSTER: M Haley; C Nash, A Frisch, M Fekitoa, S Daly; J Crowley, C Murray; J Loughman, D Barron, S Archer; J Kleyn, F Wycherley; P O'Mahony (capt), A Kendellen, G Coombes.

Subs: J Loughman for J Wycherley (49), B Healy for J Crowley (54), K Earls and J O’Donoghue for M Haley for A Kendellen (61), E Edogbo for F Wycherley (65), S Buckley for D Barron (69), C Casey for C Murray (73).  

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

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