Munster whip woeful Leicester

Date published: December 10 2016

Munster scored a thumping 38-0 win over Leicester at Thomond Park in the Champions Cup on Saturday, the biggest European defeat in the visitor’s history.

The Irish province have rediscovered their form this season and they dominated the opening half, going into the interval 19-0 ahead via four Tyler Bleyendaal penalties and Simon Zebo’s converted try.

That was extended through two Jaco Taute touchdowns and they forced the bonus-point when referee Romain Poite awarded a penalty try.

Munster’s opening match was postponed following the sad passing of Anthony Foley, meaning that they had only played one Champions Cup game going into this encounter. They won it 38-17, showing incredible resilience a week after the death of their head coach. Although it was almost two months on, they displayed the same intensity against Leicester, controlling possession and territory, and putting the visitors under significant duress.

Richard Cockerill’s men struggled to handle Conor Murray’s accurate box-kicking, while the pack was overwhelmed by the power of the hosts’ forwards. That earned a number of penalties, four of which were kicked by New Zealand-born fly-half Bleyendaal, as they moved 12-0 in front.

It was a series of indiscretions which saw Ed Slater yellow carded, rounding off a dreadful half-hour for the Midlanders. The pressure was unrelenting and the Irish province made it a 19-0 lead at the interval through Zebo’s try, who latched onto Murray’s deft offload.

Cockerill looked for a response from his charges and they started the second period brighter, but there was a lack of imagination by his team. And with their first attack of the half Munster touched down through Taute before the centre went over for a second, benefiting from Darren Sweetnam’s pass.

All they needed to round off a perfect afternoon was a fourth try and that came when the South African was illegally taken out by George Worth. Worth was sin-binned and referee Poite went under the posts as they completed the Tigers’ humiliation.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Zebo, Taute 2, Penalty Try
Cons: Bleyendaal 3
Pens: Bleyendaal 4

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Thomas Du Toit, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Andrew Conway

Leicester Tigers: 15 George Worth, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovii Mulipola
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Luke Hamilton, 20 William Evans, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Tom Brady

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Tual Trainini (France), Stéphane Boyer (France)
TMO: Arnaud Blondel (France)