Apr 17, 2019
Flashback: Munster 10-26 Saracens Men
Saracens reached the Champions Cup final for the second successive season by downing Munster in Dublin.
Owen Farrell’s boot proved pivotal at the Aviva Stadium as he collected 16 points from the tee and sent a neat grubber through for Chris Wyles to dot down following Mako Vunipola’s earlier score.
An edgy first period ended 6-3 to Sarries who added 20 unanswered points in the second half before a last-gasp converted CJ Stander consolation for Munster.
The scoreline suggests it was another ruthless display from Saracens but they were made to work for their victory by a physical Munster outfit.
Determined to honour the memory of head coach Anthony Foley who sadly passed away the night before their opening match of the 2016/17 competition, a vociferous crowd, who heavily outnumbered the travelling Sarries contingent, and sea of red flags welcomed the teams on to the field.
In the opening 30, the Irish outfit were relentless, but superb defence from Mark McCall’s side kept them at bay and restricted them to a single Tyler Bleyendaal penalty.
No matter how hard Munster pressed they could not break down the Londoners' defensive wall, and Owen Farrell made them pay with two three-pointers.
Sarries turned the tide completely when Mako Vunipola rumbled over and several of the Wolfpack’s ball carriers started to come into their own.
Then late on replacement Wyles latched on to a perfect Farrell strike to the corner to put Saracens out of sight and although Stander crossed with the clock in the red, the Men in Black were headed to the final.
TEAMS AND SCORERS:
Munster Try: StanderCon: KeatleyPen: Bleyendaal
Saracens Tries: M.Vunipola, WylesCons: Farrell (2)Pens: Farrell (4)
Munster: Zebo; Conway, Taute, Scannell, Earls; Bleyendaal, Williams; Kilcoyne, Scannell, J.Ryan, D.Ryan, Holland, P O'Mahony, O'Donnell, Stander.
Replacements: Saili for Taute (55), Sweetnam for Earls (63), Keatley for Bleyendaal (71), Cronin for Kilcoyne (56), Marshall for Scannell (60), Archer for J.Ryan (63), O'Callaghan for O'Mahony (52), Deysel for O'Donnell (50).
Saracens: Goode; Ashton, Bosch, Barritt, Maitland; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M.Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Rhodes, Wray, B.Vunipola.
Replacements: Lozowski for Bosch (74), Wyles for Maitland (62), Spencer for Wigglesworth (71), Lamositele for M.Vunipola (71), Brits for George (50), du Plessis for Koch (71), Hamilton for Itoje (74), Burger for Wray (55).
Sin Bin: Wray (22).
Mako Vunipola’s try helped Saracens pull away from Munster and ensured the momentum had swung entirely. In the 54thminute, the back steamed in to join a maul deep into Irish territory and, marshalled by Richard Wigglesworth, it allowed space for Vunipola to power on to a flat pass from the scrum-half and his leg drive, with assistance from Jackson Wray, saw him over. Owen Farrell’s conversion put Sarries 10 points ahead.
MAN OF THE MATCH: VINCENT KOCH
Vincent Koch was instrumental for Sarries and put in a beastly performance. The tighthead prop landed 13 tackles, didn’t miss one and made four strong carries as well as acting as the cornerstone of the Saracens scrum throughout. Brian O'Driscoll awarded him the BT Sport man-of-the-match award and no one disagreed.