Munster fall to heavy defeat against Cheetahs in South Africa
Cheetahs 40 Munster 16
Dan Goggin scored a late try but Munster became the latest side to taste defeat as Cheetahs sealed a third straight bonus-point win in Bloemfontein.
In a battle of the conference leaders, three Tyler Bleyendaal penalties kept Munster in touch at half-time, but tries from William Small Smith and Joseph Dweba gave Cheetahs the bonus point as they swept to a first win over Munster.
After last week’s triumph against Ulster, the Cheetahs pack outshone their lively backs, and in Franco Smith’s last game as coach they brought their tally to 22 tries for the season.
With Ruan Pienaar thriving on a healthy supply of quick ruck ball, Cheetahs spent much of the first quarter in Munster territory, and after the Munster pack conceded three quick penalties, it was no shock to see the home side take the lead.
Just before Ox Nche scored the first try, Rhys Marshall was sin-binned when he collapsed a maul, and moments later Nche crashed over. Pienaar’s conversion made it 7-0.
Without their hooker, Munster gave scrum-half Nick McCarthy and prop Jeremy Loughman turns throwing into the lineout, and just after they were restored to 15, a scrum penalty on the left allowed Bleyendaal to trim the lead.
Bleyendaal made it 7-6 with his second penalty 13 minutes from the break, but after Junior Pokomela crossed for an unconverted try, Munster and Bleyendaal did well to close the gap to 12-9 at the break.
Cheetahs stretched their lead when Small Smith skipped clear to score, before Dweba mauled Cheetahs over for the bonus point in the 56th minute.
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Munster continued to defend to the end, but after a long period of phase play, a quick-tap penalty saw Jasper Wiese score Cheetahs’s fifth try eight minutes from the end, before Rhyno Smith completed the damage in the last minute of this brutally tough outing.
Cheetahs – R Smith; W Small-Smith (C Blommetjies 58), B Janse van Rensburg, L Fouche, A Volmink; T Schoeman, R Pienaar (T Meyer 74); O Nche (B Venter 68), J Dweba (R Venter 68), L de Bruin (N Fouche 68); S Manjezi (JP du Preez 68), W Steenkamp; G Olivier (J Wiese h-t), J Pokomela (S Koen 58), H Venter.
Munster – M Haley (C Nash 65); D Sweetnam, D Goggin, R Scannell, S Daly; T Bleyendaal (JJ Hanrahan 63), N McCarthy (A Mathewson 50); J Loughman (J Cronin 55), R Marshall (K O’Byrne 51), S Archer (K Knox 55); F Wycherley (D O’Shea 74), B Holland; J O’Donoghue, T O’Donnell (K O’Byrne 18-20) (G Coombes 56), A Botha.
Ref – M Adamson (Scotland)