Munster 14 Saracens 3: Three talking points
Three talking points as Munster maintain impressive home record in Europe
Munster maintain impressive home record in European
Having underperformed to win away at Sale last week, a lot was talked about the performance the hosts would put in against arguably much harder opposition. Sarries came into the match having got past Clermont Auvergne and were confident of upsetting the apple cart at Thomond Park. Having lost just five matches from 65 European outings, Munster’s home record is more than formidable, and they proved why, keeping the dangerous Saracens to just three points and only a handful of decent chances to score tries. Ian Keatley had a difficult night from the tee, but his kicking out of hand was sublime and he marshalled his players with experience. Owen Farrell couldn’t release his backs to be the attacking threat they usually are, and will learn a lesson from their trip to Ireland.
Sarries pay price for ill-discipline
When Rhys Gill was sent to the sin bin after 51 minutes, and the game tied at 3-3, Saracens would have realised the next ten minutes would shape their chances of coming away from Thomond Park with a rare win. As it would be, the host Munster grabbed eight points while Gill was off the pitch, including a try for Dave Kilcoyne to seemingly put the result beyond doubt. Ian Keatley then added a drop-goal for the second week running to really stick the boot in their opposition. It was a far less confident performance from the Sarries side that got past Clermont Auvergne last weekend. For Munster though, it is a vast improvement on the levels they showed against Sale last time out also.
Strettle and Ashton can’t impact result after surprise EPS snub
Having delivered an absolute masterclass on wingers taking their opportunites with a brace apiece, David Strettle and Chris Ashton would have been extremely surprised to have been overlooked by Stuart Lancaster for England’s performance squad. They saw this match as an opportunity to show Lancaster and England what they are missing but in truth, neither got much of a chance. In fact, it wasn’t the free-scoring contest many might have expected given the personnel involved. It was instead a nip and tuck chess match of a game that the home side dictated with precision and skill. It was surprising that Strettle and Ashton were overlooked after last week’s showing but on the strength of this match, one would feel Lancaster is justified in his decision.