Planet Rugby

Munster at the death

22nd January 2011 17:24

Share:

Denis Hurley london irish munster HEC

Last-minute bonus point: Denis Hurley

Munster scored three tries in the last ten minutes to come from behind and beat London Irish 28-14 at Thomond Park on Saturday.

The result sees Munster qualify for the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Exiles were just 12 minutes away from becoming only the second team to beat Munster in a Heineken Cup tie at Thomond Park.

Their captain Seilala Mapusua scored a try and set up the second for Sailosi Tagicakibau as the visitors edged into a 14-7 lead, after a scoreless first half.

But Munster hit back decisively with late tries from Niall Ronan, Keith Earls and replacement Darragh Hurley.

That closing barrage of points put a gloss on the final scoreline, but Munster can take heart from how they raised their game when staring at a possible third pool defeat.

Smarting from their Toulon nightmare, Munster made a sprightly start in heavy underfoot conditions, getting Johne Murphy and Denis Hurley involved early on.

Mapusua, in his final Heineken Cup outing for Irish, announced himself with a typical midfield burst, and Munster were unable to convert their early territory into points.

A solid line-out platform and some clever kicking from Darren Allinson brought the visitors forward, but they were hampered by prop Faan Rautenbach's sin-binning for stamping on David Wallace at a ruck.

Dan Bowden was short with a 45-metre penalty attempt, after John Hayes was penalised in the scrum, and the New Zealander also flicked a drop-goal attempt wide of the uprights.

There was plenty of endeavour from both sides, but handling errors made for a scrappy second quarter. Munster ended the half on the attack after using their lineout to good effect from a penalty.

From a well-orchestrated maul three minutes before the break, the Munster forwards pressed and Damien Varley was held up over the try-line by a combination of Mapusua and Elvis Seveali'i.

Hooker Varley was thwarted again in the final minute - television match official Derek Bevan making the decision this time - and although Keith Earls got over in the corner in injury-time, Lifeimi Mafi's scoring pass was ruled forward.

On the resumption, Tomas O'Leary drove Munster forward with a lovely break in midfield. A subsequent penalty was dispatched to touch, and Varley plunged over for his deserved try after another forceful maul.

O'Gara nailed the conversion from the right of the posts, before Irish responded through their forwards. Their efforts went unrewarded however, Chris Hala'ufia's break from a five-metre scrum ruined by an accidental offside.

Then the game burst into life. Mapusua reacted quickest after O'Leary's clearance kick was charged down by Jamie Gibson and the Samoan touched down in the left corner.

Bowden followed up with the conversion to make it 7-7, right on the hour mark, and Irish, who ended their 10-match losing run against the Ospreys last Sunday, were suddenly forcing the issue.

In the 67th minute, Mapusua did brilliantly to dink a kick ahead, gather the ball at pace and link with Topsy Ojo whose pass out of the tackle teed up Tagicakibau for an easy run-in past O'Gara.

Replacement Ryan Lamb added the difficult conversion, and a famous victory was tantalisingly close for Toby Booth's men. Munster had other ideas, and they were helped on their way by a yellow card for Gibson.

Immediately, Munster hit back with their second try. Replacement Tony Buckley was held up short, before flanker Ronan picked from the ruck and dived over with O'Gara converting.

Three minutes later, they had another. Paul O'Connell stole a lineout and rampaged through the middle, moments later, and O'Gara's superbly-weighted kick to the corner was gleefully finished off by Earls.

O'Gara swung over the conversion and did likewise in injury-time after prop Hurley had muscled past Paulica Ion and Paul Hodgson, just metres from the line.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Varley, Ronan, Earls, Hurley
Cons: O'Gara 4

For London Irish:
Tries: Mapusua, Tagicakibau
Cons: Bowden, Lamb

Yellow cards: Rautenbach (London Irish - 17th min); Gibson (London Irish - 70th min)

Munster: 15 Johne Murphy, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Lifeimi Mafi, 11 Denis Hurley, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Denis Leamy, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 David Wallace, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Mick O'Driscoll, 3 John Hayes, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Darragh Hurley, 18 Tony Buckley, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 James Coughlan, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Scott Deasy, 23 Tom Gleeson.

London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Elvis Seveali'i', 12 Seilala Mapusua (capt), 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 George Stowers, 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 James Buckland, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 Richard Thorpe, 20 Kieran Roche, 21 Marcus Watson, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Paul Hodgson.

Venue: Thomond Park
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26