International: Munster seal historic victory over South Africa ‘A’ in Cork

Ben Healy Munster v Bulls URC 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Ben Healy Munster v Bulls URC 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Munster continued with their fine record against international teams when they sealed a deserved 28-14 win over South Africa ‘A’ at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork on Thursday night.

In a fast paced and entertaining game, Munster were full value for their win as they outscored their opponents by four tries to two with Shane Daly, Simon Zebo, Diarmuid Barron and Mike Haley crossing the whitewash while Ben Healy slotted four conversions.

For South Africa ‘A’, Aphelele Fassi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe scored tries with Johan Goosen and Gianni Lombard adding a conversion apiece.

The result is an historic one for Munster as it is their first over a touring South African side and comes after their previous victories against New Zealand in 1978 and Australia in 1967, 1992 and 2010.

Munster made the brighter start and opened the scoring as early as the third minute – Daly rounding off in the right-hand corner after gathering a well-timed pass from Haley.

Despite that setback, South Africa ‘A’ did not panic and were soon camped inside the home side’s 22. The visitors took the ball through the phases with their forwards before Goosen found Fassi with a skip pass and the full-back had an easy run in out wide.

Midway through the half, it started to rain which meant most of the exchanges were restricted to the forwards but on the half-hour mark Munster were on the attack deep inside South Africa ‘A’ territory and Healy found Zebo with a delightful long pass before the veteran flyer crossed the whitewash in the left-hand corner.

Strong finish to the half from Munster

Just before half-time, Munster put a penalty into touch inside the visitors’ 22 and from the resulting set-piece the hosts’ launched a drive and were rewarded when Barron crossed under a mass of bodies.

South Africa ‘A’ tried to respond but despite an extensive period camped close to Munster’s try-line, they could not cross the whitewash which meant the Irish province had their tails up at half-time as they were holding a 21-7 lead.

Just like the opening half, Munster shot out of the blocks after the interval and were rewarded when Haley scored his try after diving onto the ball following a perfectly weighted grubber kick from Healy.

In the 56th minute, South Africa ‘A’ thought they had narrowed the gap when Suleiman Hartzenberg crossed in the right-hand corner. However, his effort was disallowed after television replays revealed that he had a foot in touch while dotting down, following a great cover tackle from Patrick Campbell.

Five minutes later, Munster were reduced to 14 men when Liam O’Connor was yellow carded for illegal scrummaging. The visitors made their numerical advantage count as shortly afterwards Notshe scored their second try, after peeling off from the back of a scrum deep inside Munster territory.

Lombard converted but that would be the only points South Africa ‘A’ scored during O’Connor’s stint off the field and despite several attacking forays from the visitors in Munster’s half during the rest of the match, the hosts held on for their historic win.

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