Munster fall to a late defeat at Ellis Park against the Lions

This is a second loss in a row in South Africa and a fourth defeat of their URC campaign

Lions 23 Munster 21

Munster, having come from 26 points to claim a bonus point last week against the Bulls, this time coughed up a winning hand and fell to a late defeat at Ellis Park.

It was a disappointing outcome for a game which looked to be heading Munster’s way when they ran in three tries in the opening half.

But they lost their way after the restart and suffered their second loss in a row in South Africa and their fourth defeat of their URC campaign.


Munster led 21-10 at the break after the Wycherley brothers Josh and Fineen crossed for tries as Johann van Graan’s men started and finished the half strongly.

Munster raced into a 14-0 lead in as many minutes as they got on top in the opening quarter, with tighthead John Ryan getting them off the mark after nine minutes following good work from flanker John Hodnett and centres Damian de Allende and Chris Farrell.

Josh Wycherley kickstarted a great day for the Bantry family when he scored after Calvin Nash did superbly to present the ball back in the tackle on the line, with Jack Crowley, who was short with a 53-metre penalty after four minutes, adding his second conversion.

The Lions, looking for their third win of the campaign but struggling in the lineout, got back in the game when winger Edwill van der Merwe got through tackles from Nash and Ryan to score, with Jordan Henrikse adding the conversion from the left and then cutting the gap to 14-10 after 36 minutes with a penalty in front of the posts after captain Jack O’Donoghue was pinged for obstruction.

But Munster finished the half well and after O’Donoghue exchanged passes with Josh Wycherley, scrumhalf Neil Cronin took it on and Fineen Wycherley did the rest, with Crowley converting to lead 21-10 at the interval.

Alex Kendellen got over for what would have been his second game in a row to score but was called back for a forward pass from Cronin to Niall Scannell 10 minutes after the restart.

Hendrikse reduced the margin after 65 minutes after Munster lost their first scrum put-in of the season and conceded a penalty, and that score lifted the Lions with centre Wandisile Simelane scoring down the right when he took on and beat Mike Haley on the outside four minutes later.

Hendrikse converted and then edged them in front for the first time in the game seven minutes from time when Jean Kleyn was pinged for offside and with Munster losing a lineout inside the home 22 in the closing stages they fell to their second defeat of this tour.


Emirates Lions: Tries: E van der Merwe, W Simelane. Cons: J Hendrikse (2). Pens: Hendrikse (3).

Munster: Tries: J Ryan, J Wycherley, F Wycherley. Cons: J Crowley (3).


Emirates Lions: Q Horn; S Pienaar, W Simelane, B Odendaal, E van der Merwe; J Hendrikse, M van den Berg; S Sithole, J Visagie, C Sadie; R Schoeman, R Nothnagel; S Sangweni, V Tshituka, F Horn.

Replacements: M Rass for Pienaar (8 mins), E Tshituka for Sangweni (30 mins), T Swanepoel for Horn (47 mins), JP Smith for Sithole, PJ Botha for Visagie and R Dreyer for Sadie (all 51 mins), R Venter for Schoeman (57 mins).

Munster: M Haley; C Nash, C Farrell, D de Allende, S Daly; J Crowle, N Cronin; J Wycherley, N Scannell, J Ryan; J Kleyn, F Wycherley; J O'Donoghue, J Hodnett, A Kendellen.

Replacements: S Buckley for Scannell (56 mins), K Knox for Ryan (58 mins), B Healy for Daly and P Patterson for Cronin (both 64 mins), C Cloete for Kendellen (65 mins), E O’Connor for Kleyn (28-34 mins) and for Hodnett (65 mins), M Donnelly for J Wycherley (68 mins), L Coombes for Crowley (69 mins).

Refereee: Adam Jones (Wales).