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Rugby

01st Apr 2023

Meek Munster swallowed whole by voracious Sharks

Patrick McCarry

Munster

SHARKS 50-35 MUNSTER

For the second weekend in a row, Munster conceded a hatful of points and were comprehensively beaten with a large chunk of the match still to go.

Graham Rowntree got off to a rough start as Munster head coach, only to get a handle of his side’s season and offer signs of hope for the future.

After two ruthless flakings, at the hands of Glasgow and Sharks, they will need to dig deep to stay in the hunt for a first trophy in 12 years. The Champions Cup is off the table, though, after Sharks ran amok during the second half of their Last 16 encounter, in Durban.

Munster led 7-3 after an early Shane Daly try but the home side, stacked with World Cup winners, were physically dominant and playing with more ambition. They scored through Jaden Hendrikse and Eben Etzebeth to lead 17-7 before Dave Kilcoyne crashed over for a converted score that made it 17-14 at the break.

That was as close as it was ever going to get for Rowntree’s men.

MunsterSikhumbuzo Notshe of the Cell C Sharks tackled by Calvin Nash of Munster. (Photo by Darren Stewart/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Sharks savage Munster in second half

Two lineout drives in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, both scored by hooker Bongi Mbonambi, effectively ended the knock-out game as a contest.

Winger Werner Kok was having fun at Hollywood Bets Stadium and he rampaged into space, out wide, and ignored the support runners to cruise over and dot down. When Curwin Bosch helped himself to a try, after a Munster attack broke down, it was starting to get ugly – 43-14.

Replacement hooker Diarmuid Barron bulled over for a try that was already a consolation score, even though we had 20 minutes to play. Makazole Mapimpi responded with another Sharks try after an attempted Malakai Fekitoa offload went loose and the winger snatched it up.

That try was converted, to bring up 50 points for Sharks.

Mike Haley and Fineen Wycherley got over for late scores but it was not enough to mask what a meek, ugly defeat this was for the two-time champions.

Sharks join Leicester Tigers in the quarter finals while Munster must get themselves going again to finish the United Rugby Championship on a higher note.

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