Limp Lions wane badly in Cork's incessant rain as Munster romp to big victory

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Lions v Munster (Getty)
Lions v Munster (Getty)

Another mediocre campaign loading?

That's a question the Ellis Park faithful might start asking after the Lions slumped to a third successive URC defeat on Friday night, a 33-3 reverse to a gutsy and improving Munster at a soaked Musgrave Park in Cork.

FT | Munster 33-3 Lions

Following a highly promising start, Ivan van Rooyen's charges are now delivering the type of performances indicative of a team that's very much still in progress.

That shouldn't necessarily be viewed in an overly pessimistic light.

Despite the scoreline and some less than flattering possession and territory stats, the Lions weren't outplayed in this match.

Indeed, there were some particularly promising incursions in the first half that suggested they do have the nous to get themselves into scoring positions, even in atrocious conditions like this match, where the rain was incessant.

There was one instance where they were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty try by Scottish referee Hollie Anderson, but their other opportunities were undermined by the weakness of last weekend against the Stormers, where they seemed progressively less certain of what to do with attacking possession as the phases went on.

They were also guilty of some tactical naivety in a setting that required pragmatism and the halfback pairing of Morne van den Berg and Jordan Hendrikse were harshly reminded that tactical kicking needs to be pinpoint and considered, especially with a howling wind behind their backs in the first half.

Poor lineout work was also unforgivable.

A relatively inexperienced home lineup was also guilty of some indifferent handling and decision-making, but they were vastly superior in capitalising on their attacking opportunities.

Hooker Scott Buckley at the head of two maul tries, while the superb flanker Jack O'Donoghue was rewarded for his efforts with the score that gave Munster a comfortable buffer at half-time.

As it became clear in the second stanza that the Lions weren't going to launch a comeback, so did their defence wane - perhaps understandable given that they had to complete an almighty 220 tackles.

Scrumhalf Paddy Patterson shrewdly went straight through a yawning gap at an attacking breakdown, while winger Liam Coombes scored the most attractive try of the night, ghosting past four defenders to cross the whitewash.

In all honesty though, the Lions should've done better, the microcosm of their overall performance.        

Scorers:

Munster 33 (12)

Tries: Scott Buckley (2), Jack O'Donoghue, Paddy Patterson, Liam Coombes

Conversions: Ben Healy (4)

Lions 3 (3)

Penalty: Jordan Hendrikse


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