Munster finished off their European Champions Cup with a 65-10 win over Sale in Sunday’s dead rubber at Thomond Park.
Munster amassed an incredible 38 points in the final 15 minutes!
The victory was Munster’s 100th in Europe and rounds off a mixed campaign in the competition, while the Sharks were left with plenty of defensive questions to answer.
An even start to the game suggested there’d be little between the two teams. Simon Zebo gave the hosts a perfect start with the game’s first try, which Ian Keatley converted, and he struck a penalty shortly after to make it 10-0.
But Nick MacLeod responded in kind to cut the deficit down to seven.
Keatley hit another penalty, but again Sale closed the gap. Winger Tom Arscott touched down for the visitors and MacLeod converted to make it 13-10 with little more than 10 minutes played.
But the scoring opportunities dried up in the minutes that followed, and it wasn’t until the opening minutes of the second half that Munster re-affirmed their superiority.
Ivan Dineen made the initial break before feeding Keith Earls, who finished with aplomb.
Keatley converted and this time there’d be no way back for Sale, especially when Munster were awarded a penalty try on 53 minutes to make it 27-10.
But further misery was heaped on the hapless visitors, who shipped an astonishing six tries in the final 15 minutes of the game.
Pat Howard crossed on 66 minutes to begin the procession, and his effort was quickly followed by tries to Zebo, Andrew Conway and Tommy O’Donnell.
The Sharks were shell-shocked but Munster showed no mercy and crossed twice more before the end through Conway and Simon Williams. Keatley and JJ Hanrahan between them converted four of those final six tries to complete a resounding victory, and compound an embarrassing afternoon for Sale.
Tries: Zebo 2, Earls, Penalty try, Howard, Conway 2, O’Donnell, Hanrahan, Williams
Cons: Keatley 4, Hanrahan 3
Pens: Keatley 2
Yellow card: Conway
Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Peter O’Mahony (c), 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Dave O’Callaghan, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Duncan Casey, 1 James Cronin
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 John Ryan, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Ivan Dineen, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Pat Howard
Sale Sharks: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Will Addison, 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Tom Arscott, 10 Nick MacLeod, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Vili Fihaki, 7 David Seymour (c), 6 Mark Easter, 5 Josh Beaumont, 4 Andrei Ostrikov, 3 Ross Harrison, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Alberto de Marchi
Replacements: 16 Cameron Neild, 17 James Flynn, 18 Ciaran Parker, 19 George Nott, 20 Andrew Hughes, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Andy Forsyth
Venue: Thomond Park
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)