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Munster bring Lions back down to earth

URC REPORT: Munster made it two wins from two matches on their South African tour after they beat the Lions 33-13 in Johannesburg on Saturday.

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The defending champions started their tour with a 27-22 win over the Bulls last week and they followed that up with another clinical performance at Ellis Park.

The bonus-point win lifted the Irish Province above the Bulls in third position in the standings with three rounds left to play.

Saturday’s result also brought the Lions back down to earth after their 44-12 victory over Leinster in Round 14.

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.

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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 fullback 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 sinbin 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.

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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.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Try: Botha
Con: Hendrikse
Pens: Hendrikse 2

For Munster:
Tries: O’Donoghue, Penalty Try, Daly, Coombes
Con: Crowley
Pens: Crowley 3

Yellow card: Marius Louw (Lions, 40′ – cynical play, tackling a player without the ball)

Teams:

Lions: 15 Jordan Hendrikse, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Ruan Delport, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Morgan Naude.
Replacements: 16 PJ Botha, 17 JP Smith, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Ruan Venter, 21 Sibusiso Sangweni, 22 Nico Steyn, 23 Gianni Lombard.

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Seán O’Brien, 11 Shane Daly 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jack O’Donoghue, 7 Alex Kendellen, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Tadhg Beirne (captain), 4 RG Snyman, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Eoghan Clarke, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Tom Ahern, 20 Gavin Coombes, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Mike Haley.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa) and Dylen November (South Africa)
TMO: Adam Jones (Wales)

Additional reporting: @URCOfficial

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