Tigers win at Thomond Park

Date published: December 12 2015

Leicester claimed their third straight victory in Pool 4 of the Champions Cup after they beat Munster 31-19 at Thomond Park on Saturday.

It was a deserved win that leaves the Tigers nine points clear in the group ahead of the reverse fixture between the two sides at Welford Road.

Vereniki Goneva, Mike Fitzgerald and Ben Youngs scored the tries for an impressive Leicester side, who will head home happy as Munster suffered a third successive loss in all competitions. Their European hopes are hanging by a thread.

Owen Williams and Ian Keatley traded shots in an even opening half-hour that saw the scoreline at six apiece on a cold night in Limerick.

But when Fijian Goneva slipped Keatley's attempted tackle on the left to go over and make it 11-6, the Tigers were growing in confidence and it came as no surprise when lock Fitzgerald made it 18-6 at the break after capitalising on Niall Scannell's overthrow close to his line.

Munster needed a retort after the interval and they certainly offered it as prop Jerry Cronin dotted down at the foot of a Tigers ruck that had gone over the try-line. It was a smart play from the loosehead as he knew the laws of the game.

With Leicester prop Marcos Ayerza receiving a yellow card soon after for a late tackle on Conor Murray, suddenly the game was up for grabs as pivot Keatley knocked over a penalty attempt which made it 18-14 with only 48 minutes played.

But then came a moment of magic from scrum-half Youngs as he found a gap to score a key try to make it 25-14, meaning that Mike Sherry's score on 67 minutes still meant Munster were a score, six points to be exact, behind the Tigers.

And replacement fly-half Tommy Bell made sure no comeback win was forthcoming with two late penalties as Leicester march on in this pool.

The scorers:

For Munster:
Tries: Cronin, Sherry
Pen: Keatley 3

For Leicester:
Tries: Goneva, Fitzgerald, B Youngs
Con: Williams 2
Pen: Williams 2, Bell 2

Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Denis Hurley, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander (c), 7 Dave O'Callaghan, 6 Robin Copeland, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 James Cronin.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 Mark Chisholm, 20 Jack O'Donoghue, 21 Tomás O'Leary, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Ed Slater (c), 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Dom Barrow, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Gonzalo Camacho.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Tual Trainini (France), Laurent Breil (France)
TMO: Gilles Cogne (France)