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Published: 12:54 | 18/12/15

Tigers tame Munster in Thomond

A scintillating attacking blast on the stroke of half-time helped the Leicester Tigers to a deserved 31-19 win over Munster in the European Champions Cup in Thomond Park.

Munster, who were much the better side in the opening 35 minutes, dominated possession throughout, but they were unable to breach the Leicester defence often enough.

In contrast, the Tigers were clinical when their chances presented themselves and they took full advantage to seal a big win.

Leicester started brightly and they took the lead after 3 minutes when Munster were penalised for going off their feet. Owen Williams stepped up and made no mistake with the kick.

Munster responded well to this early concession as they ran through the phases inside the Leicester 22 and they levelled through Ian Keatley when the Tigers were penalised for being offside.

It was all Munster after this and they took the lead for the first time when Botha won a penalty at turnover ball and Keatley made no mistake to make it 6-3 after 19 minutes.

The hosts were in total control at the breakdown as they forced Leicester back inside their own territory, but they were unable to turn their domination into points.

And the visitors levelled after 28 minutes with a huge kick from Williams from near the halfway line after the Tigers won the penalty from an unforced Munster handling error.

Munster continued to dominate possession without threatening the try line and they were severely punished for their lacklustre attacking when Leicester struck with two tries in six minutes.

The first arrived after a maul ended with Vereniki Goneva dancing past a missed tackle by Ian Keatley to touch down in the corner.

And the English outfit took total control of proceedings on the stroke of halftime when Michael Fitzgerald gathered at the end of an overthrown Munster line-out and powered over to send his side in 18-6 up at the break.

Munster again dominated the possession at the beginning of the second half, but this time they made the pressure pay with eight points in the opening five minutes.

Their first try of the night arrived when Munster disrupted the Leicester line-out inside the five-metre line and James Cronin somehow managed to touch down to make it 11-18.

Things began to unravel for the Tigers and they conceded a needless penalty when Marcos Ayerza whacked Conor Murray with a late tackle.

Ayerza was sent to the bin and Keatley kicked the hosts to within four.

However, once again, Munster contributed to their own downfall with 27 minutes remaining when Ben Youngs turned the ball over on the 22 and raced through a disorganised defence to touch down.

This try seemed to take the sting out of the hosts, but they rallied and gave themselves a glimmer of hope with 14 minutes left.

Keith Earls made a break and they ran through the phases before Mike Sherry bulldozed over to make it a six-point game.

But this hope was quickly extinguished when the hosts gave away another needless penalty and Tommy Bell knocked over the score to stretch the Tigers lead.

And Richard Cockerill’s men wrapped up an impressive victory when Bell kicked the final score of the night to seal a 31-19 win for the Premiership side.

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