Munster rout crushes Wasps' dreams
EUROPEAN CUP REPORT: Munster beat Wasps 45-7 at Thomond Park on Sunday, ending their opponents’ hopes of reaching the Round of 16.
Wasps came into the Pool B finale knowing a point would see them reach the knockout stage, but Munster controlled the vast majority of the contest as they wrapped up a third-place finish.
Munster crossed for the game’s first try within 10 minutes, scrum-half Conor Murray dotting after a staggering 21 phases of possession for the hosts.
The Irish province was outstanding with ball in hand and after Ben Healy nudged a penalty with just over a quarter of an hour gone, the fly-half set up a try for Simon Zebo as he hung up a kick for his winger in a well-worked set-piece move.
The score saw Zebo become Munster’s all-time leading European try scorer.
Wasps got on the board on 26 minutes when scrumhalf Dan Robson dummied and squirmed over from close range following an extended period of pressure on the Munster line.
But Munster responded with a third score moments later, No.8 Gavin Coombes making a huge carry off a scrum before flanker Jack O’Donoghue crashed over.
Wasps pushed for a second try at the end of the first half, and another string of phases on the Munster line saw the hosts concede a number of penalties before Coombes was shown a yellow card.
Munster held out until the break, however, and started the second half in the ascendancy despite their numerical disadvantage, powering over for a fourth try through prop Jeremy Loughman on 43 minutes.
And shortly after Munster were back up to 15, Wasps lost a man as Robson was sin-binned for coming in at the side, although the visitors commendably survived the 10-minute period without conceding.
But Wasps struggled to put Munster under any real pressure, even when back to their full complement, and their qualification hopes slipped away as a scrappy second half wore on.
The Premiership side’s misery was compounded in the final moments of the game, with flyhalf Charlie Atkinson yellow carded before Zebo crossed in the corner for his second try and Rory Scannell dotted down for Munster’s sixth with the clock in the red.
Tries: Murray, Zebo 2, O’Donoghue, Loughman, Scannell
Cons: Healy 4, Crowley 2
Yellow cards: G. Coombes (Mnster, 34), D. Robson (Wasps, 50), C. Atkinson (Wasps, 76)
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Scott Buckley, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 John Ryan, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 John Hodnett, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Simon Zebo.
Wasps: 15 Ali Crossdale, 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Paolo Odogwu, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Elliott Millar-Mills, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Tom West.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Will Porter, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Sam Spink.
Referee: Tual Trainini (France)
Assistant referees: Benoit Rousselet (France), Cedric Marchat (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)