Munster faded after making a strong start as they slipped to a 23-21 United Rugby Championship defeat to the Lions in Johannesburg.

Props John Ryan and Josh Wycherley touched down as the visitors opened up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and they led 21-10 at the break thanks to Fineen Wycherley's try late in the half, with Edwill van der Merwe having crossed for the hosts.

However, the heat and altitude looked to be taking their toll on Munster as the second half progressed and the home side eventually started to eat away at the deficit.

Wandisile Simelane's 67th-minute try was crucial and Jordan Hendrikse, who kicked 13 points for the Lions in total, edged them into a lead they would not relinquish, with Munster pointless after the interval.

An early Jack Crowley penalty attempt fell just short but the Munster fly-half opened his account after Ryan burrowed over next to the posts for the game's first try in the eighth minute.

Ryan was involved again as he and Niall Scannell demonstrated some excellent ball-carrying in the build-up to front-row colleague Josh Wycherley touching down, with Crowley again on target from the tee.

Munster's Alex Kendellan in action

The Lions needed a spark to bring them back into the contest and it arrived when Burger Odendaal offloaded to Van Der Merwe and the wing showed tremendous strength to repel a Munster tackler and scamper down the left flank to score.

Hendrikse converted and added a subsequent penalty, reducing Munster's lead to 14-10, but there was daylight between the sides once more when some great hands led to Fineen Wycherley crashing over at the end of the first half.

Alex Kendellen had a try chalked off due to a forward pass 10 minutes into the second half and the visitors will have been grateful for their strong start - and a couple of wasted Lions opportunities - as the unfamiliar conditions began to tell.

However, the Lions did start to take advantage of their tiring visitors and, after Hendrikse reduced the arrears to eight from the tee, Simelane was sent over down the right wing and Hendrikse made it a one-point game.

The Lions fly-half then fired the winning penalty, sending the home side into the lead for the first time six minutes from the end.