Champions Cup: Seven-try Sharks secure quarter-final spot defeating Munster in Durban

Planet Rugby
The Sharks ran in seven tries to defeat Munster 50-28 in the first Champions Cup playoff match in South Africa, with Bongi Mbonambi scoring twice.

The Sharks secured a place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals after defeating Munster 50-35 in the tournament’s first play-off match in South Africa.

Tries from Jaden Hendrikse, Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi (2), Werner Kok, Curwin Bosch and Makazole Mapimpi saw the Sharks book their place in the last eight.

Fly-half Bosch converted six of the tries and also added a penalty as the Sharks found form, responding well after last week’s United Rugby Championship loss at Scarlets.

For Munster their tries came through Shane Daly, Dave Kilcoyne, Diarmuid Barron, Mike Haley and Fineen Wycherley, with Jack Crowley converting all those crossings.

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The heat and humidity would have been strange for Munster in this first Champions Cup knockout game on South African soil. The selection talking points were around the half-backs, with Craig Casey and Crowley getting the nod for the visitors.

When Munster did get the ball from a turnover they showed they had clearly studied the Sharks blitz defence, using depth to get the ball wide and put wing Daly in loads of space.

He still had a bit to do to beat the covering defence but got over for the try, with Crowley adding the conversion.

The Sharks had the advantage in terms of power at the breakdown and scrum and turned that into points as wing Mapimpi made a half-break and put scrum-half Hendrikse through for the try. Bosch converted.

Hendrikse was injured in the act of scoring, but there was no change in the home side’s forward power and the penalties that brought. Pressure on the line was eventually finished off from short range by lock Etzebeth, Bosch again converting.

Munster wings Calvin Nash and Daly were able to find space, but Munster’s response eventually came from short range through the forwards, with prop Kilcoyne burrowing his way over. Crowley converted to bring his side within three points at half-time.

The Sharks lost Etzebeth at the break in a big blow for the hosts, but the home forwards showed their undiminished power from a lineout near the Munster line, with hooker Mbonambi breaking away to go over. Bosch added the conversion.

More penalties put the Sharks in position for a repeat just a few minutes later and once again Mbonambi finished off, this time with greater ease.

Kok was the next to touch down before loose ball from a Munster attack was picked up by Bosch and his 50-yard run to the line made it four tries in 18 minutes after half-time.

Munster did hit back through a lineout drive of their own, replacement hooker Barron going over, but another loose pass gave Mapimpi another 50-yard run to the line to seal the result.

Full-back Haley sliced through the defence for another Munster try, but it was the Sharks’ day in the heat of Durban.

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