A 16-minute four-try salvo by Munster was enough to weather the DHL Stormers at Thomond Park as the hosts recorded their second United Rugby Championship win in a row.
Johann van Graan's side had trailed 15-7 after a first half riddled with Munster mistakes and lit up the by the free-running and adventurous Stormers on a cold but calm evening in Limerick.
Trailing by 15 points with the clock in overtime at the end of the half, the comeback began with Jack O’Donoghue’s try and was complete just 16 minutes into the second half after Jean Kleyn, Niall Scannell and O’Donoghue all touched down from short range.
RG Snyman, playing his second game after returning from a long-term injury, also got on the scoresheet.
The four new South African sides have now lost seven of their opening eight URC games although defeat for John Dobson's side here, minus Springboks Steven Kitshoff, Frans Malherbe, Herschel Jantjies and Marvin Orie, didn’t look likely in the early stages.
The signs of the visitors’ intent were clear when Dan du Plessis and Sergeal Petersen breaks threatened the line inside the opening moments.
Warrick Gelant dives over for the visitors' first try - they are in total command at Thomond Park#RTERugby #URC #UnitedRugbyChampionship #MUNvSHA— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) October 2, 2021
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And Warrick Galant’s try in the ninth minute demonstrated that the South Africans, narrowly beaten by Benetton last week, had come to play.
A series of offloads on the Munster 22, that featured passes from the entire front row, a lock and a back row, set out-half Mannie Libbok free to serve full-back Gelant a run-in.
While there was plenty of guile in that effort, the next try came off a simple through-the-hands move from a slow ruck ball in midfield with left wing Leolin Zas running in in the corner after Ruhan Nel’s offload. Too easy.
Munster, who ran six tries past the Sharks last week, were ragged and had conceded three penalties by the 17th minute with bursts from man of the match Gavin Coombes and Dave Kilcoyne the only positives of the opening quarter.
Libbok had a try disallowed for a knock on five minutes later with Munster defence looking flat-footed and unsure.
Then when Munster did manage to work field position they were penalised for a three-person latch off a ruck just five metres out. Nothing was going right for Van Graan’s men.
Gelant added a penalty on the half-hour mark and Munster were on the verge of an embarrassing first-half shut-out.
Some light at the end of a miserable half for Munster as Jack O'Donoghue gets over.#RTERugby #URC #UnitedRugbyChampionship #MUNvSTO— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) October 2, 2021
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However, O’Donoghue barged over after some close-range pressure with the clock in the red at the end of the half, Carbery converted.
The Cape Town side, who also missed a penalty and a conversion, led 15-7 at the break and the scoreline really flattered the hosts.
They had missed 15 tackles, conceded seven penalties and were turned over seven times in a desperately poor 40 minutes.
It had to get better and it did but it was no surprise that a South African got the finishing touch for their second try.
Former Stormer Kleyn, capped five times by Ireland back in 2019, barged over after more sustained pressure on the line just seven minutes into the second half.
Carbery converted and Munster trailed by just one.
Niall Scannell touches down for Munster's third try as the hosts are rampant in the second half#RTERugby #URC #UnitedRugbyChampionship #MUNvSTO— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) October 2, 2021
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But they soon took the lead with hooker Scannell this time finding himself at the bottom of the pile over the line. Munster’s play wasn’t as pretty as the Stormers but it was proving effective.
O’Donogue followed that up moments later, getting on the end of another pack effort, and although Carbery couldn’t convert, Munster were two scores clear.
Jack O'Donoghue notches Munster's fourth try as they ram home their advantage #RTERugby #URC #UnitedRugbyChampionship #MUNvSTO— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) October 2, 2021
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Replacement Tim Swiel kicked a penalty in response but that was swiftly seen and raised when Snyman stretched out for his first Munster score, his team-mates and the Munster crowd showing their appreciation with the loudest cheer of the night.
As the rain came down, Ben Healy kicked the extras and a penalty and the points belonged to Munster.
Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Keith Earls, Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Keynan Knox; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Peter O'Mahony (capt), Jack O'Donoghue, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, RG Snyman, Jack O’Sullivan, Rowan Osborne, Ben Healy, Simon Zebo.
Stormers: Warrick Gelant; Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Dan du Plessis, Leolin Zas; Manie Libbok, Stefan Ungerer; Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Neethling Fouche; Adre Smith, Salmaan Moerat (capt); Nama Xaba, Willie Engelbrecht, Evan Roos.
Replacements: Andre-Hugo Venter, Leon Lyons, Sazi Sandi, Ernst van Rhyn, Marcel Theunissen, Godlen Masimla, Tim Swiel, Rikus Pretorius.