Munster snatch late victory over Sale Sharks

Munster flyhalf Ian Keatley kicked a match winning drop goal to earn his team a late 26-27 European Rugby Champions Cup victory over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The clock was showing 80 minutes, 54 seconds when the Munster outside half
slipped back into the pocket, called for the ball and put his practice into
action to win the game with the final kick of the match.

As the Sale players, who had put their team into a thoroughly deserved 23-7
interval lead, slumped to the ground with their heads in their hands, the Munster
players jumped for joy and celebrated another ‘get out of jail’ card played
on the European stage.

The home side went into the game as underdogs against a team that had reached
the semi-finals in the last two seasons, but responded brilliantly to an early
set back when Dave Kilcoyne ploughed over for a try for the visitors.

But with Danny Cipriani relishing his chance on the big stage, Sale caused
havoc with the Munster midfield defence, they put their scrum under pressure
and conjured up tries for Magnus Lund and Jonny Leota.

Cipriani added 13 points to those two scores and the Sharks were in full control
at 23-7.

But the wind, and a half-time roasting from head coach Anthony Foley, turned
Munster into a totally different side in the second half and they dominated
possession and territory so much that at one stage they were enjoyed 95% of
the ball.

Two changes in the front row four minutes after the break had the desired
effect at scrum time for Munster and slowly but surely, they worked their way
back into the contest. Andrew Conway weaved his way over for a try and then
Conor Murray dabbed down in the right corner.

Keatley converted both as the gap was reduced to two points and then swapped
penalties with Cipriani. Then came the coup de gras from the Munster outside
half – and a hell of a post game party for the fans!

Final Score Sale Sharks 26 (23) Munster 27 (7)

Scorers

Sale Sharks
Tries – Lund, Leota
Pen – Cipriani 4
Con – Cipriani 2
Drop –
Cards –

Munster
Tries – Kilcoyne, Conway, Murray
Pen – Keatley
Con – Keatley 3
Drop – Keatley
Cards –

Teams

Sale Sharks

Michael Haley, Tom Brady, Johnny Leota, Sammy Tuitupou, Tom Arscott, Danny Cipriani, Chris Cusiter, Eifion Lewis-Roberts, Marc Jones, Vadim Cobilas, Jon Mills, Michael Paterson, Magnus Lund, David Seymour (cpt), Mark Easter

Replacements: Shalva Mamukashvili, Ross Harrison, Alberto de Marchi, Andrei Ostrikov, Josh Beaumont, Will Cliff, Joe Ford, Mark Jennings

Munster

Felix Jones, Andrew Conway, Andrew Smith, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo, Ian Keatley, Conor Murray, Dave Kilcoyne, Duncan Casey, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony (cpt), Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander

Replacements: Eusebio Guinazu, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Billy Holland, Robin Copeland, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Gerhard van den Heever

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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