Munster battle past Kings
PRO14 REPORT: Munster’s suffocating defence and efficiency in attack helped them to a battling 31-20 bonus-point win as they made it two victories from two by beating the Southern Kings in South Africa.
The only try of an attritional first half came from Mike Haley and although Stefan Ungerer’s score just after the interval briefly gave the Kings the lead, Munster tightened up and ran in three further tries through Alby Mathewson, Fineen Wycherley and Arno Botha.
That victory followed the opening-round 39-9 triumph over Dragons, while a second-half blitz from the opposition cost Kings for a second week running – having gone down 27-31 to Cardiff Blues in Round One – as their search for a first-ever win over Munster goes on.
JJ Hanrahan and Demetri Catrakilis exchanged early penalties before the visitors delivered the first telling blow on 20 minutes as they spread the ball wide, Dan Goggin drew the last defender and fed Haley for the score.
A second Catrakilis penalty from in front of the sticks narrowed the deficit to 10-6 and despite an end-to-end open game, that’s how it stayed until half-time.
But the Kings flew out of the blocks after the break as Masixole Banda jinked past two defenders, popped to Jacques du Toit and he released scrumhalf Ungerer to power over, with Catrakilis’s conversion giving them a three-point advantage.
The Kings flyhalf then sent a long-range penalty the wrong side of the right upright and Munster made him pay as Goggin’s dart was stopped inches short of the line, only for scrum-half Mathewson to dive over.
Darren Sweetnam dropped a pinpoint Haley pass with the try-line at his mercy as both sides’ handling became sloppy but Kings’ woes in the final 20 minutes of games continued as the visitors pulled away.
Wycherley had just enough to reach the tryline from close range on 67 minutes before the bonus point was secured three minutes later when Kevin O’Byrne’s quick pop to Botha enabled the No.8 to power over.
The Kings had the final say as Elrigh Louw threw a dummy and dived over from close range after 14 attacking phases but they weren’t able to grab a third try and earn a losing bonus point.
For Southern Kings:
Tries: Ungerer 2
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 2
Tries: Haley, Mathewson, Wycherley, Botha
Cons: Hanrahan 4
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Andell Loubser, 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 JT Jackson, 11 Courtney Winnaar, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Lusanda Badiyana (captain), 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Jerry Sexton, Pieter Scholtz, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Alulutho Tshakweni, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Elrigh Louw, 21 Josh Allderman, 22 Sibusiso Sithole, 23 Josiah Twum-Boafo
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Dan Goggin, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Tommy O’Donnell (captain), 6 Jack O’Donoghue, 5 Fineen Wycherley, 4 Darren O’Shea, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Kevin O’Byrne, 1 Liam O’Connor,
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 James Cronin, 18 Jeremy Loughman, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Billy Holland, 21 Neil Cronin, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Chris Cloete
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Paul Mente (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)