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Munster earn bonus-point win over Hollywoodbets Sharks in URC opener

By PA
Ethan Coughlan of Munster dives over to score his side's fifth try during the United Rugby Championship match between Munster and Hollywoodbets Sharks at Thomond Park in Limerick. (Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Final-quarter tries from Andrew Conway and Ethan Coughlan earned Munster a 34-21 bonus-point win over the Hollywoodbets Sharks as they made a successful start to their BKT United Rugby Championship title defence at Thomond Park.

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Academy lock Edwin Edogbo’s first URC try put his side on course for a 21-7 half-time lead, with Diarmuid Barron and Antoine Frisch also scoring to sandwich Werner Kok’s 37th-minute reply.

Despite James van Rensburg crossing in the 48th minute to cancel out a Joey Carbery penalty, the Sharks lost Cameron Wright to the sin bin and those scores from Conway and Coughlan put the result beyond doubt.

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The Sharks did muster a late consolation effort from Aphelele Fassi, something to take with them into next week’s trip to Leinster.

The South African outfit failed to capitalise on Ntuthuko Mchunu’s eye-catching early break, with the supporting Wright denied a try by Shane Daly’s tackle.

Munster had a couple of false starts with Carbery throwing a forward pass, but he soon combined with Barron to prevent Mchunu from breaking the deadlock.

Points Flow Chart

Munster win +13
Time in lead
62
Mins in lead
0
75%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
31%
Possession Last 10 min
69%
5
Points Last 10 min
7

Twenty minutes in, nice hands from Carbery and late call-up Shay McCarthy released Daly down the left wing, and three defenders were unable to stop the 20-year-old Edogbo from five metres out.

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Carbery converted and it was his sharp footwork and link-up with Alex Kendellen that sent hooker Barron in behind the posts to make it 14-0.

Nearing the interval, a brilliant solo run from Curwin Bosch split open the hosts’ midfield and played in Kok to score in the right corner.

However, Frisch sucker-punched the Sharks when he kicked through and got the bounce of the ball to touch down, much to the disgust of the covering Wright and Marnus Potgieter.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
3.4
10
Entries
Avg. Points Scored
2.6
8
Entries

Carbery took his kicking haul to nine points early after the restart, yet the Sharks hit back with another opportunistic try. Wright took a quick lineout after his own 50:22 kick and replacement Van Rensburg crashed over from a Phepsi Buthelezi pass.

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Although Bosch’s conversion made it a 10-point game, Munster wrestled back control past the hour mark. Wright was yellow carded for a high tackle on Daly.

The Irish province’s maul did some damage before newcomer Alex Nankivell’s long skip pass put Conway over untouched for the bonus-point try.

Kendellen and Frisch showed their passing skills to send Coughlan over in the 77th minute, before replacement Fassi had the final say, clawing back seven points from Bosch’s kick over the top.

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