O’Ma­hony proud of ram­pant Mun­ster

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - SPORT - At Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir

It took Mun­ster a mere 54 min­utes to bag a bonus point in Paris as they put Rac­ing 92 to the sword to once again honour the mem­ory of their for­mer cap­tain and coach, An­thony Fo­ley, whose death in Oc­to­ber ahead of this Round One game forced the match to be re­ar­ranged.

The vic­tory over last sea­son’s fi­nal­ists and the reign­ing French cham­pi­ons puts Mun­ster three points clear of Glas­gow War­riors at the top of Pool 1 and within a vic­tory over their Scot­tish ri­vals at Scot­stoun next week­end of a guar­an­teed ticket into the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Cham­pi­ons Cup.

“It’s a big win and to get a bonus point in France is right up there for this group. This is an un­be­liev­ably dif­fi­cult place to play and we are very proud of the result,” said Mun­ster skip­per Peter O’Ma­hony. “There is still a lot of work to be done, es­pe­cially as we have to play three games back-to-back. We will re­cover from this week­end and get down to some more hard work ahead of what is go­ing to be a se­ri­ously hard game against Glas­gow.”

The sur­prise of the open­ing quar­ter wasn’t that Mun­ster went on the at­tack, tak­ing the di­rect route through their pack and one-out run­ners, rather it was the de­ter­mi­na­tion of Rac­ing’s de­fence that stood out.

Mun­ster had spent a good deal of that quar­ter camped close to the op­po­si­tion line and more than a dozen di­rect at­tempts at breach­ing the try-line were re­pelled, so when of­fered a 14th-minute penalty in the shadow of the posts Tyler Bleyen­daal took the points.

Si­mon Zebo was the man to add the touch of sub­tlety and cross for the open­ing try, the full-back join­ing the line on the left and, tak­ing the ball at pace some 12 me­tres out, he drifted past a soft shoul­der to dive over. It was his 50th try for the Ir­ish prov­ince.

The third score came from an­other Bleyen­daal penalty awarded close to the Rac­ing posts but, sig­nif­i­cantly, it had come fol­low­ing a bat­tle of wills with the home side opt­ing for a rolling maul fol­low­ing a line-out deep in­side their own 22.

Mun­ster stayed firm and while the maul trun­dled for­ward about 10 me­tres it fi­nally stum­bled, ref­eree Matthew Car­ley award­ing the re­sult­ing scrum to the away side which put them back on the at­tack again.

Bleyen­daal’s suc­cess­ful kick was fol­lowed just over two min­utes later by an­other sig­nif­i­cant turnover, this time CJ Stander charg­ing down a kick and turn­ing up a lit­tle later out on the left to take a pass, hand off the first tack­ler and touch down de­spite the at­ten­tions of a second and third tack­ler.

There was a third try on the stroke of half-time – Conor Mur­ray clip­ping a grub­ber along the right-hand touch­line that popped up per­fectly for An­drew Con­way as he ran down the line, the touch­down sur­viv­ing the scru­tiny of the TMO look­ing closely at where his feet were when he caught the ball.

The bonus-point try came eight min­utes af­ter the break, a re­ward for Mun­ster’s pa­tience fol­low­ing re­peated Rac­ing in­fring­ing, mostly for off­side. The penal­ties were kicked to touch in prepa­ra­tion for Mun­ster’s trade­mark rolling maul, from where hooker Niall Scan­nell even­tu­ally forced his way over.

Matthieu Voisin dot­ted down af­ter 62 min­utes chas­ing a kick down the left-hand touch­line, some­what spar­ing Rac­ing’s blushes.

Ham­mer blow: An­drew Con­way crosses to score Mun­ster’s third try on the stroke of half-time as the Ir­ish side as­serted their early dom­i­nance in Paris

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