Ruthless Munster demolish Cheetahs
PRO14 REPORT: Left wing Alex Wootton scored four tries to helped Munster produced a 51-18 win over Cheetahs at Thomond Park.
Rassie Erasmus' troops started the game in sublime form and went on to outscore the Cheetahs eight tries to two.
Wootton was seemingly unstoppable on the wing as Munster sent perfectly precise offloads out to the left, helping the 23-year-old go over in the corner twice in the first half.
After dotting down twice more, the wing was forced to leave the field to make room for Ireland international Simon Zebo, who added his name to the scoresheet within minutes, claiming Munster’s eighth try of the afternoon.
Cheetahs brought the score to 22-11 at one stage with a try from William Small-Smith, but Rassie Erasmus’ men swiftly ramped up the intensity to run away with the win.
Ian Keatley opened the scoring for the home side early on, claiming three points after three minutes when the Cheetahs were caught offside.
The Munster scrum looked dominant from the outset and Tommy O’Donnell made the most of this, taking an offload from Jack O’Donoghue to touch down.
Keatley made no mistake with the conversion and the Munstermen continued to pile on the pressure, driving the ball up to the five-metre line again and again.
Robbie Petzer took the chance to reduce the deficit to seven with a penalty, but a mere two minutes later Wootton scored his first try of the day thanks to a stunning skip pass from Darren Sweetnam.
Wootton was back across the whitewash before the half-time whistle, as the ball was sped across to the left wing out of a maul to help the Irishman claim five more points.
The second half had barely begun before Francois Venter, making his return from Springbok camp, showed his usual attacking prowess to find a gap, allowing William Small-Smith to dot down.
Munster were quick to respond and claim the bonus-point try, as last year’s finalists formed a maul from the line-out and Jean Kleyn scored his third try in two games.
The barrage continued as Chris Farrell scored the first try of his Munster career, before Wootton secured his third of the day.
Sweetnam repeated his first-half feat to set Wootton up again with another sublime offload and Keatley added two more as the hosts pulled away with an insurmountable lead.
The Munster maul sprung into action once more after 70 minutes and, after a check with the TMO, Zebo was awarded his first club try of the season.
But Henco Venter made sure the Cheetahs had something to take back to South Africa, scoring a consolation try in the 80th minute.
Tries: O'Donnell, Wootton 4, Kleyn, Farrell, Zebo
Cons: Keatley 4
Tries: Small-Smith, Venter.
Pens: Petzer 2
Munster: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Alex Wootton, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 Jack O'Donoghue, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Sean O'Connor, 5 Billy Holland (captain), 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Liam O'Connor.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 John Ryan, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 James Hart, 22 Rory Scannell, 23 Simon Zebo.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robbie Petzer, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Rynier Bernardo, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Armandt Koster, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Mark Patton (Ireland)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)