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Munster lead the Tigers a merry dance and get bonus point win in the Champions Cup tonight

By Aidan Corr
In Thomond Park
Munster 33, Leicester Tigers 10
MUNSTER, in front of an attendance of 23,503 tonight, produced another Champions Cup night of magic with an emphatic victory over the Leicester Tigers. They led 23-3 at the break and even with another 40 minutes to be played, there was a feeling pof deja vu about this fixture. Leicester were beaten all over the field, particularly at the breakdown, and their lone score of the first half came four minutes before the break.
The second period startred as the first half ended with Munster on top. Five minutes in Andrew Conway went off with a head injury and was replaced by Darren Sweetnam. Munster’s third try came on 56 minutes after yet another turnover. Zebo fed Sweetnam and his pass sent captain Peter O’Mahony over near the corner to push the lead to 28-3.
Leicester just could not put any decent sequence of play together, they lost their own lineout when in good attacking positions, their knock-on rate was high but they eventually broke the Munster defence on 65 minutes with substitute hooker Harry Thacker getting over and George Ford adding the extras. That score should have triggered some revival but Munster came in search of the bonus point try from the kick-off. Again they delivered, Scannell kicking into the corner and the pack surging over for Cloete to be credited with the touchdown for a 33-10 lead and the five pool points safely in the bag.
Munster started well and were 3-0 up after seven minutes. Andrew Conway made a 60 metre break and Munster were awarded a penalty in front of the posts that Ian Keatley struck with ease between the posts. Munster kept picking little holes in the Tigers’ defence with Keatley and Scannell threading kicks through the defence to keep the pressure on the visitors. Witrh 19 minutes played Munster set up an opportunity for another score and it paid off. Rory Scannell popped a penalty intothe 22, the home pack attacked from the lineout and Rhys Marshall burst through for a try which Keatley converted to bring the lead to 10-0.
Leicester struggled to get any real scoring opportunities at this stage and another Keatley placed kick, this one just inside the ten metre line, pushed the lead to 13 points with 28 minutes played. The Tigers needed a score and they meeded it quick. Munster kept winning the physical battles and when Keatley kicked a neat ball into space, Zebo won the race to the touchdown and Keatley’s conversion pushed the lead to 20-0. Leicester got a score on the board four minutes before the break, George Ford converting a penalty but it hardly made a difference on the scoreboard with Munster cancelling that out with another Keatley penalty that left his side leading 23-3 at half time
Munster had the better of the second half and they will travel to Welford Road next week with added confidence.
Munster Rugby: Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer, Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony (c), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander
Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Brian Scott, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Darren Sweetnam
Leicester Tigers: Telusa Veainu; Adam Thompstone, Matt Smith, Matthew Tait, Jonny May; George Ford, Ben Youngs; Kyle Traynor, Tom Youngs (c), Dan Cole, Michael Fitzgerald, Graham Kitchener, Tino Mapapalangi, Luke Hamilton, Sione Kalafamoni
Replacements: Harry Thacker, Logovii Mulipola, Chris Baumann, Dom Barrow, Mike Williams, Sam Harrison, Joe Ford, Nick Malouf.
Referee: Jérome Garcès (France), Assistant ref: Ludovic Cayre (France), Assistant ref: Hervé Labaylette (France), TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France), Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Scotland)

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