Munster tame Lions in Johannesburg

Munster became the first European team to win in Johannesburg in the United Rugby Championship this season after demolishing the Lions 33-13.

It was a sixth successive league victory for the champions and completed a successful two-match tour of South Africa having dispatched the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld a week earlier.

But Graham Rowntree’s side had to work hard for their scores and they spent lengthy spells of the second half defending their line having built a 28-6 lead before securing the bonus point in the final minute.

Jack Crowley kicked them into a nine-point lead through three penalties in a tight start to the round 15 clash.

It took until the 27th minute for the Lions to register their first points through the boot of Jordan Hendrikse and they almost added to their score when Erich Cronje chipped ahead and raced clear only to be wrong-footed by an unkind bounce.

Munster’s pack were getting the better of the hosts and they orchestrated the first try of the match with a driving maul finished by Jack O’Donoghue, which Crowley converted.

Crowley made a try-saving tackle on Hendrikse and although the Lions full-back landed his second penalty, a pivotal moment arrived in first-half stoppage time when Simon Zebo was taken out off the ball as he was close to scoring.

Referee Craig Evans awarded a penalty try and sent Marius Louw to the sin-bin for interfering with Zebo.

Munster had the victory wrapped up eight minutes into the second half when Shane Daly was offered a simple score with all the hard work being done inside him.

But after sustained pressure when the Lions hammered away at the visitors’ line through their pack, they eventually went over through PJ Botha with Hendrikse adding the extras.

They needed to score again quickly if they were to reel in Munster but instead they were met by a wall in defence as the champions soaked up phase after phase of attack.

In a final indignity for the Lions, they faded in the closing minutes to allow Gavin Coombes over for a maul try.


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