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Munster edge 14-man Bulls in Loftus arm-wrestle

MATCH REPORT: Defending champions Munster overtook the Bulls on the United Championship standings with a 27-22 win in a bruising encounter at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.


Outscoring their hosts by four tries to three, the visitors moved into third place in a very congested table and within striking distance of a top-two finish.

The Bulls’ first URC loss at Loftus against visitors from abroad ended a 21-match victory run.

The crucial moment came in the 54th minute – Bulls flyhalf Johan Goosen was yellow carded for a head-on-head collision with an opponent.

Having come back from trailing 10-17 at half-time, the Bulls held a 22-17 lead in what was an improved second-half performance.

However, they failed to score again and two tries – the match-winner coming from veteran Irish scrumhalf Conor Murray in the final 10 minutes – allowed Munster to secure a bonus-point win.

The Bulls simply made too many errors in a poor first half, often gifting the visitors both possession and territory with some silly errors and sloppy play.


This was epitomised in the 10 points scored by Munster in the final two minutes of the first half – all coming from Bulls’ errors.

After the break the Bulls showed more intent and intensity, but still made too many costly errors.

* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!

(The report continues below …)

It was a nervy start, with several Bulls passes going to no one and Munster turning the ball over as well.

The first real scoring opportunity came after 15 minutes – a penalty for a deliberate knock-on. Veteran Irish scrumhalf Conor Murray, aiming from inside his half, hit the upright.


However, minutes later – after a shockingly badly misguided line-out by the Bulls – Munster set up some phase-play and left wing Shane Daly darted over. Jack Crowley added the conversion – 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bulls replied with their forwards using brute force for captain Elrigh Louw barging over. Johan Goosen added the conversion – 7-all after 26 minutes.

From the restart the Bulls won a penalty and Johan Goosen punted it 60 metres downfield for a line-out, which resulted in another penalty to the Bulls. The second penalty Goosen slotted for as 10-7 lead.

On the stroke of half-time Munster made the Bulls pay for another sloppy mistake. The turnover allowed the visitors to take it through the phases till double World Cup-winning Springbok RG Snyman barged his way over. Crowley added the conversion 14-10.

Soon afterwards, with time up, Crowley aimed at goal from 45 metres out – after another Bulls transgression – slotting it, to make it 17-10 for the visitors at half-time.

The second half started just as the first finished – the Bulls contributing to their demise with sloppy play.

However, a Munster error – illegally playing the scrumhalf – gifted the Bulls an attacking line-out, Another penalty and a few phases later Kurt-Lee Arendse came off his right wing to burst over on the left. Goosen was wide of the mark with the conversion – 15-17.

Minutes later, with more pressure applied by the Bulls, Munster conceded a penalty in front of their posts. From a tap-and-go hooker, Johan Grobbelaar went over. Goosen slotted the conversion as the Nulls hit the front – 22-17.

In the 54th minute, Goosen collided with replacement Craig Casey, resulting in a red card for the Bulls flyhalf for a head-on-head contact.

Soon afterwards, with the outnumbered Bulls defence exposed, a cross-field kick saw replacement John Hodnett score the visitors’ third try. Crowley hit the upright with the conversion attempt – 22-all.

It now became an arm-wrestle, with both teams making some nervous errors and replacements flooding the game.

With six minutes remaining, following a scrum penalty, Munster took the ball through enough phases to put Conor Murray over in the right corner. Crowley was wide with the conversion attempt – 27-22 for the visitors.

The Bulls now threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visitors,

However, Munster held on for a vital win.

The scorers

For the Bulls
Tries: E Louw, Arendse, Grobbelaar
Cons: Goosen 2
Pens: Goosen

For Munster
Tries: Daly, Snyman, Hodnett, Murray
Cons: Crowley 2
Pens: Crowley

Red card: Johan Goosen (Bulls, 54 – foul play, head-on-head contact)


Bulls: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Canan Moodie, 12 David Kriel, 11 Sebastien de Klerk, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Elrigh Louw (captain), 7 Reinhardt Ludwig, 6 Cameron Hanekom, 5 JF van Heerden, 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Mornay Smith, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Mpilo Gumede, 21 Izak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Devon Williams.

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Alex Nankivell, 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 John Hodnett.

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



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