Munster Edge Past Saracens At Thomond Park To Keep Champions Cup Hopes Alive
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Munster – 10
Saracens – 3
Munster got their Heineken Champions Cup campaign back on track this evening with a 10-3 win over current holders Saracens in Thomond Park.
The southern province enjoyed plenty of possession in the first-half but were restricted to just a 3-0 lead inside the first half-hour thanks to some staunch defence from the English side. The closest they came was try by Rory Scannell that was disallowed for a knock-on by Chris Farrell in the build-up.
But a try was inevitable and finally came on the half-hour mark thanks to some lovely work up the touchline from Keith Earls. The Moyross man was stopped just short but some quick thinking from Conor Murray put Peter O’Mahony through a hole and Munster had their first try.
Ben Spencer missed a kick in front of the posts three minutes later when the ball thundered off the crossbar. But Chris Farrell’s clearance bounced off teammate Stephen Archer and suddenly the home side was defending their five-metre line.
In the end, Munster kept them out, but Saracens were awarded a penalty once again in front of the posts and this time Ben Spencer didn’t miss. At half-time, it was Munster 10-3 Saracens.
The sky opened in the second half as the rain came pouring down in Limerick. Munster once again enjoyed plenty of possession but failed to really take advantage of it with a lot of unforced errors.
Saracens gave away a number of penalties with JJ Hanrahan opting to kick to the corner almost every time. But Munster failed to convert any of their chances. The biggest moment came when Arno Both was bizarrely sent-off by referee Romain Poite in the final seconds for a fend on replacement Nick Tompkins.
The conditions were poor but playing against a Saracens side missing the likes Owen Farrell, Billy and Mako Vunipola, Elliot Daly, George Kruis and Jamie George, Munster will be disappointed.
That international contingent is expected to return next week for the return fixture at Allianz Park and if Munster don’t take their chance over there – they will certainly be punished.
A win for the home side but a very lacklustre one at that. And with Saracens earning a bonus-point and Munster failing to get one themselves – next week looks like it will be a must-win game.