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Late, late show sees Munster beat Ulster to finish top of the URC

By PA
Munster's Thomas Ahern celebrates at the final whistle (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster set up a potential home run in the BKT United Rugby Championship play-offs after a 29-24 win over Ulster at Thomond Park saw them finish top of the table.

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The defending champions trailed by 10 points on two occasions but replacement Eoghan Clarke’s 69th-minute maul try and a late Jack Crowley penalty got the job done.

Tries from Rob Herring and David McCann cancelled out RG Snyman’s seventh-minute opener to give quarter-final-bound Ulster a 17-7 half-time lead.

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The lads have plenty of big club games to react to this week after finals in Europe and Japan as well as some huge results in Super Rugby Pacific. We start by dissecting the games in Christchurch and Hamilton before casting an eye over the Champions Cup final.

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The lads have plenty of big club games to react to this week after finals in Europe and Japan as well as some huge results in Super Rugby Pacific. We start by dissecting the games in Christchurch and Hamilton before casting an eye over the Champions Cup final.

Calvin Nash and Shane Daly both touched down, sandwiching a Matthew Rea score in a sparkling seven-minute spell, while Crowley and John Cooney brought their kicking boots, each landing three conversions and a penalty.

Boosted by their strong bench, Graham Rowntree’s side came out on top in front of a 17,496-strong home crowd and will host Ospreys in next weekend’s quarter-finals, with sixth-placed Ulster travelling to Leinster.

The Ulstermen lost Stuart McCloskey and Ethan McIlroy to injuries before kick-off, which brought Jude Postlethwaite and Stewart Moore into the team. The early departure of Kieran Treadwell (ankle) was another blow.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
2.3
11
Entries
Avg. Points Scored
4.8
5
Entries

Snyman was very fortunate to avoid a card for a high tackle on Will Addison and much to Ulster’s annoyance, the Springbok star duly scored a few minutes later, giving Crowley a straightforward conversion.

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However, Ulster hit back with a well-worked maul try from Herring and Cooney soon gave his side a 10-7 lead courtesy of a 22nd-minute penalty.

Munster’s execution was letting them down and a late Crowley blunder handed Ulster a five-metre scrum. They earned a further penalty and flanker McCann was able to burrow over for Cooney to convert.

A rare Cooney penalty miss preceded the unloading of the hosts’ forward-heavy bench which was a game changer. Nash scored from a Craig Casey pass and Crowley’s touchline conversion cut the gap to just three points.

Cormac Izuchukwu broke menacingly to put Ulster right back in scoring range and Cooney’s short pass helped Rea power over. Cooney also curled over the extras for a 24-14 scoreline.

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Crucially, Munster clawed back those seven points by the hour mark. Replacement Joey Carbery’s half-break produced quick ball, which Casey scooped up one-handed to send Daly over from the left wing which Crowley converted.

Clarke redeemed himself for a previous crooked throw when he muscled his way over in the left corner and the Reds held onto the momentum as Crowley’s closing penalty put them just out of reach.

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