Munster made a statement of intent when they claimed a 33-10 bonus-point win over Leicester in their Pool Four clash at Thomond Park on Saturday.
The Irish province were full value for their win as they held the upper-hand for large periods. They eventually outscored the Tigers four tries to one and the result moves them to the top of their pool.
Munster were in control of proceedings from the outset and laid the groundwork for this win in the first half. They had the bulk of the possession and territory and led 23-3 at the interval.
They took the lead as early as the eighth minute courtesy of an Ian Keatley penalty but the game came alive midway through the half when Rhys Marshall showed great ball control to hold onto a pass from Conor Murray before powering his way over the try-line.
Keatley added the extras and he slotted another three-pointer off the kicking tee midway through the half which gave his side a 13-0 lead. And on the hour-mark, Keatley delivered a delightful chip kick – behind Leicester’s defence – which Simon Zebo gathered before diving over for a deserved try.
Once again, Keatley added the extras before George Ford opened Leicester’s account with a penalty five minutes before half-time. But it was Munster who would finish the half stronger as another Keatley penalty, in the 38th minute – after Tom Youngs was blown up for a neck roll on Chris Cloete – gave the hosts a comortable 23-3 lead at the interval.
The second half started cautiously as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy but Munster were back on top in the 55th minute when Marshall did well to win a turnover and after several waves of attack, the ball was shifted out wide where Darren Sweetnam drew in the last defender before offloading to Peter O’Mahony, who crossed in the right-hand corner.
Ten minutes later, Leicester got over for their only try when Harry Thacker barged over from close quarters off the back of a lineout drive deep inside Munster’s 22.
Three minutes later, the home side did struck back in similar fashion when Cloete emerged with the ball from under a mass of bodies after driving maul close to the Tigers’ try-line.
The final 10 minutes was a frantic affair as Leicester launched several attacks in a bid to haul in their hosts but they were unsuccesful as they were kept in check by a solid defensive effort from the Irish province.
Tries: Marshall, Zebo, O’Mahony, Cloete
Cons: Keatley 2
Pens: Keatley 3