Thursday 24 May 2018

Conor Murray scores try 30 seconds after coming on as a sub to inspire Munster to victory in South Africa

Cheetahs 17 Munster 19

Robin Copeland of Munster on the attack during the Guinness PRO14 Round 20 match between Cheetahs and Munster at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa
Robin Copeland of Munster on the attack during the Guinness PRO14 Round 20 match between Cheetahs and Munster at Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, South Africa

John Fallon

Conor Murray came off the bench to inspire Munster to book their place in a PRO14 semi-final with a big win over Cheetahs at Bloemfontein.

Next weekend Munster embark on a massive trip to Bordeaux and a Champions Cup quarter-final meeting with Racing 92.

And Johann van Graan's side completed their South African tour with a second win, even though they trailed 17-7 at half-time, despite Murray's first-half try.

Clayton Blommetjies and Tian Meyer had scored for Cheetahs, but JJ Hanrahan's boot brought Munster back into the game before Murray sealed the win.

Cheetahs looked to use the difficult Highveld conditions to their favour in the opening quarter and they pressurised Munster from the off.

Their first try arrived in the tenth minute when Blommetjies was set up by a long pass from Francois Venter, before he side-stepped Dan Goggin to finish in the right corner.

Former Racing 92 out-half Johan Goosen was starting his first game for the South Africans and he scored the difficult conversion.

Zebo got yellow eight minutes later for a professional foul when Munster looked outnumbered out wide again, and Sam Arnold's heroic last ditch tackle on Uzair Cassiem prevented a second try.

But that try did arrive just before the half hour when Blommetjies drew the last defender before a pass to Meyer, who scored.

Munster finally got some territory once Zebo arrived back on the pitch, and Hart went off injured, before his replacement struck.

Murray stepped up to score from the back of a scrum seconds after his arrival onto the field.

Goosen's first penalty gave Cheetahs a 17-7 half-time lead but Munster took complete control after the interval, and it was the early impact of their replacements that made the difference.

Hanrahan kicked penalties three penalties to bring the deficit back to 17-16 and then a 51-metre penalty from Murray put Munster ahead in the 66th minute.

Scorers – Cheetahs: C Blommetjies, T Meyer tries, J Goosen 2 cons, pen.

Munster: C Murray try, JJ Hanrahan con, Hanrahan 3, C Murray pens.

Cheetahs: C Blommetjies; W Small-Smith, F Venter, N Marais, S Maxwane; J Goosen (C Swart 68), T Meyer; O Nche (C Marais 58), T van Jaarsveld, J Coetzee (T Botha 58); C Wegner, R Hugo (R Bernardo 66); P Schoeman, O Mohoje (H Venter 59), U Cassiem

Munster: S Zebo (I Keatley 48); A Conway, S Arnold, D Goggin (R Scannell 58), D Sweetnam; JJ Hanrahan, J Hart (C Murray 36); B Scott (D Kilcoyne 44), N Scannell (R Marshall 44), J Ryan (S Archer 40); G Grobler, B Holland; P O’Mahony (D O’Callaghan 55), J O’Donoghue (C Oliver 75), R Copeland.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland).

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