Murray proves Munster match-winner

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The Independent Online
DAVID HUGHES

Munster 17 Swansea 13

Munster in Thomond Park at the end of October is no place to take a relatively raw and inexperienced team, never mind a team of the All Blacks' quality as they discovered 17 years ago almost to the day. But the All Whites of Swansea nearly stole an unlikely victory against the malfunctioning provincial Irish champions in Pool D of the European Cup yesterday until the full-back Pat Murray intervened with a match-winning try in the 77th minute.

Baden Evans, the Swansea manager, expressed himself "delighted" with his young team's performance, heralding the debutant full-back Gary Thomas, but "very disappointed" with the result. The source of Evans's disappointment emanated from the 18th minute Richard Wallace try, which gave Munster a crucial 7-6 interval lead after they had elected to play into the first- half breeze.

The Swansea manager reckoned that the referee, Ed Morrisson, should have awarded a scrum when the official was briefly taken out by John Fitzgerald's charge, though in truth outside-half Aled Williams was the primary culprit when failing to find touch after gathering Kenny Smith's short penalty.

In any event scrum-half David O'Mahoney cut through for Paul Burke to put Wallace over, Smith converting. Either side of this Williams landed 15th and 40th-minute penalties to keep Swansea in touch, before Smith extended Munster's lead to 10-6 with a 42nd-minute penalty.

A one-dimensional Munster made little of their wind assisted third-quarter territorial supremacy. Swansea hung in and struck nearing the hour mark when Roddy Boobyer broke a tackle and put Alan Harris in, Williams converting.

Cue the inevitable Munster siege. Burke orchestrated a dummy scissors and Murray had enough momentum in breaking a tackle to stagger over the line. Smith converted.

n A brilliant second-half try by Ireland's international wing Niall Woods sent Leinster on their way to a 21-24 Pool C win in Guiriati yesterday over a Milan side for whom the normally reliable Diego Dominguez missed eight kicks at goal.

Munster: Tries P Murray, R Wallace; Penalty Smith; Conversions Smith 2. Swansea: Try A Harris; Penalties A Williams 2; Conversion Williams.

Munster: P Murray (Shannon, capt); R Wallace, D Larkin (both Garryowen), S McAhill (Sunday's Well), K Smith (Garryowen); P Burke, D O'Mahony (both Cork Con); J Fitzgerald (Young Munster), T Kingston (Dolphin), P Clohessy (Y Munster), M Galwey (Shannon), G Fulcher (Cork Con), E Halvey, A Foley (both Shannon), D Corkery (Terenure). Replacement: B Toland (Old Crescent) for Halvey, 32).

Swansea: G Thomas, A Harris, R Boobyer, D Weatherley, S Davies,A Williams, R Jones, C Loader, G Jenkins, C Anthony, S Moore, A Moore, A Reynolds, S Davies (capt), R Appleyard.

Referee: E Morrisson (RFU).

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