Brilliant Munster secure bonus-point win over South Africa's Bulls

Brilliant Munster secure bonus-point win over South Africa’s Bulls



MUNSTER WERE GOOD, a sentence we haven’t written this season up until now. Better than that, it was like seeing a trailer for a film that’s still to hit the big screen, all these glimpses of a future we are all desperate to see.

Star of the show will be Joey Carbery, deservedly player of the match here, back looking like the Joey Carbery that hit the big time in Chicago back in 2016. The co-stars also looked fairly sharp, Tadhg Beirne especially but also a few unexpected names, Jeremy Loughman being one, Dan Goggin another.

Victory here was hard-won. The Bulls made it to the URC final last year and will be in the mix again at the end of this term. Yet they couldn’t live with Munster’s intensity, the fitness levels being noticeably different. So dominant were Munster here, they had a bonus point wrapped up with 62 minutes on the clock.

Better than that, for the last seven minutes, they were under pressure, defending their line as if the championship itself was on the line. It wasn’t, as we all know. But what was at stake was their reputation. A fourth defeat from five would have been unacceptable.

But it was never on the agenda.

Right from the off the intent was there. Playing with purpose and tempo, Munster were unrecognisable from the side that limped to a 1 and 3 record from their first four games of the season.

A 14-point half-time lead was just about right, for even if the Bulls did score first, and even if they ended the half attacking the Munster line, the truth is they were not just outplayed but outfought and overran.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Right from the off we saw attempts to stretch the Bulls defence as the two Munster half-backs, Craig Casey and Carbery, imposed their personality on proceedings, Casey with his quick hands, Carbery with his quick mind.

Really, he was superb here, not frightened to go wide with either his hands or his feet, not afraid to take the ball to the line, not afraid to put his body on the line just before half-time when the Munster pack were otherwise engaged in a maul.

That tackle saved a certain try. Otherwise, Munster were comfortable, the Bulls unable to handle the speed of their play, in survival mode from early on, even if they did take an 11th minute lead via the boot of Johann Goosen, their out-half.

The truth is that was an unfair reflection of the play up until then, because pretty much every aspect of the game was being edged by the hosts. The scrum was even enough, but the Bulls line-out was a mess, Peter O’Mahony reading the intentions of Jan-Hendrik Wessels almost every time the Bulls hooker had the ball in his hands.

That wasn’t all. Munster kicked better; Niall Scannell threw better darts; Carbery’s control of the game from his seat in the control box was so much more impressive than Goosen’s. On top of this add in a fine first-half showing from Edwin Edogbo, whose early turnover set the tone.

If the big second row is a find, then rediscovering that Beirne can do a job at six gives Munster additional beef in the pack. Beirne was exceptional here.

And so, certainly in terms of his finishing, was Gavin Coombes who scored two tries from close-range, the first after Loughman and Jean Kleyn had attempted to get across from a series of pick-and-goes, the second after Edogbo had dented a hole in the Bulls defence.

Both those tries came in the second quarter, as did Munster’s other points of the half, a Carbery penalty, and yet while evidently significant, if you had to choose one moment that summed up the difference between these teams in the opening half, it was from a piece of just sheer intent and will from captain O’Mahony and loosehead prop, Loughman, who put in big hits on Wandisile Simelane and Embrose Papier in the end-goal area.

That led to a five metre scrum penalty and nearly a Craig Casey try. More than that, though, it led to Munster finally showing some self-belief, something that has been totally absent all year.

It was there to be seen right through the second half, Loughman getting a try after Carbery kicked infield, the prop showing serious pace and even a piece of footwork to make the most of a wicked bounce.

That Loughman try made it 24-3. Now, any other team may have folded but the Bulls actually outscored Munster 14-7 in the remaining minutes, getting one try when they were down to 14 men, another when Munster were again ahead by 21 points.

Each Bulls score –  David Kriel’s and WJ Steenkamp’s – was soft, scored on the break, Munster’s back three caught out of position. Those issues are fixable. Beirne’s try, which came in between those Bulls scores, better summed up their performance, one of flair and fight. They’ve certainly made next week’s date with Leinster worth tuning in for.

Munster scorers

Tries: G Coombes 2, Loughman, Beirne

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport’s biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

Conversions: Carbery (4/4)

Penalties: Carbery (1/1)

Bulls scorers

Tries: WJ Steenkamp, Kriel

Conversions: C Smith (2/2)

Penalties: Johan Goosen (1/1)

Munster: Shane Daly, Calvin Nash (Jack Crowley, rep: 41), Malakai Fekitoa, Dan Goggin, Liam Coombes, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey (rep: Conor Murray ’57), Jeremy Loughman (rep: Dave Kilcoyne ’51), Niall Scannell (rep: Diarmuid Barron ’51), Stephen Archer (rep: Roman Salanoa ’51), Jean Kleyn , Edwin Edogbo (rep: Thomas Ahern ’51), Tadhg Beirne (rep: Jack O’Donoghue ’69), Peter O’Mahony (rep: John Hodnett ’63), Gavin Coombes.                      

Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-lee Arendse; Cornel Hendricks (rep; David Kriel ’41) , Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Wandisile Simelane; Johan Goosen (rep: Chris Smith ’41), Embrose Papier (rep: Zak Burger ’68); Simphiwe Matanzima (rep: Dylan Smith ’57), Jan-Hendrik Wessels (rep: Bismarck Du Plessis ’57) , Mornay Smith (yellow card – 47-57 – (rep: Jacques van Rooyen ’57), Walt Steenkamp, Run Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (rep: Marco Van Staden ’60), WJ Steenkamp (Jacques van Rooyen ’53-57), Elrigh Louw

Referee: Mike Adamson, (SRU)

#Brilliant #Munster #secure #bonuspoint #win #South #Africas #Bulls

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *