Leicester Tigers tame Munster in Champions Cup encounter
By Rob Mulhern
Last Updated: 13/12/15 10:29pm
Three-try Leicester outgunned Munster 31-19 in a thrilling Champions Cup encounter at Thomond Park.
These European heavyweights have chiseled out a great rivalry in this competition and made light of the bad weather to serve up another capturing contest.
The Tigers' lineout was imperious and they frustrated Munster at the breakdown, particularly through the third-quarter when the home side looked like wrestling the contest back.
But it was Leicester's second-quarter performance that did the most damage when Vereniki Goneva and Mike Fitzgerald scored two tries in two minutes to put Tigers 18-6 ahead.
The tries were a thing of contrast with Gonvea displaying great footwork and spacial awareness to somehow beat Munster's defensive cover and score in the corner.
Munster might have tipped their hat to this piece of skill, but they were left cursing their own carelessness just a minute later when an over-throw at the lineout fell into the hands of Mike Fitzgerald who charged over from five metres out.
Munster just had two Ian Keatley penalties to show for their efforts at the half-time and in truth they deserved a little more.
They returned with renewed focus after the interval with James Cronin dotting down to narrow the gap to a converted try.
Minutes later Keatley nailed a penalty to make it 18-14 and the momentum, and the script looked as if it was about to turn Munster red.
However through one critical play that momentum was brought to a temporary but vital halt.
Seremaia Bai turned over Keith Earls after the winger made a brilliant defensive catch and with Munster back peddling, Ben Youngs, skipped through the defensive line to touch down.
Owen Williams converted to leave the scores at 25-14.
The odds were now heavily stacked against a home win but Munster rallied through the third quarter, playing some sublime running rugby. Leicester however, were frustratingly effective at the breakdown.
But Earls continued to sparkle and he skipped inside two tackles to tee up a try for substitute Mike Sherry.
It was a one score game again, but Leicester ground the contest out with two more penalties.