The Runner Sports

Vincent Koch And Saracens Pack Falter Early, Dominate Munster Late

Man of the Match Vincent Koch and the Saracens stout defense too much for Munster

Tight head prop Vincent Koch may have had a tremendous match, but it did not start well for the Saracens. The Saracens started off by being pushed around in the scrum by Munster.

On an early Munster handling error, the ball popped loose and the Saracens recovered at the 5m line before knocking on to give Munster a scrum deep in Saracens territory. Munster featured a big push from the scrum. Alex Goode made a good move to steal the ball, but advantage was still played for not rolling away. Tyler Bleyendaal slots the first kick of the day to give Munster a 3-0 lead.

Following some sloppy play by both teams, Saracens won a lineout and quickly went wide. A line break gave the Saracens an open field to the goal until the ball was passed into Richard Wigglesworth who knocked on ending a definite Saracens try. Munster got the ball back, attacking deep into the Saracens side, but were unable to get the final push past the strong defense. On the next trip into the Munster half, Owen Farrell got the penalty kick to tie up the match.

Munster have an extraordinary attack which dominates possession on the field early in the match. Through the first 30 minutes, 39% of possession was spent inside the Saracens’ 22. For all that possession Munster was only able to manage 3 points. This time included Saracens playing with only 14 men due to Jackson Wray taking Duncan Williams high and earning a yellow card.

Munster continued to play deep into Saracens territory, but to no avail as Saracens defense prevented any points for Munster. The Irish side was unable to capitalize on the yellow card and even gave up a penalty kick at the end of the card.

Second half was the opposite of the first half

The second half the Saracens came out with a different mentality. Although Munster was able to get into Saracens territory quickly after the half it did not last. Saracens began dining Munster deep in their own 22. The Munster defense held strong, preventing any quick action by the Saracens. Both defenses were playing strong defense, C J Stander leading the way for Munster and Billy Vunipola for Saracens.

Munster made their way back into the Saracens half, but tried three cross-field kicks in a row that were unable to gain any ground. Saracens got the ball back, and drove hard for the Munster line, but George Kruis knocked on as he was reaching for the line. For a great defensive battle, there were many handling errors by both teams in the match.

Following the scrum, Bleyendall kicked to touch but did not make it out of the 22. Following the lineout and maul, the second half of the Vunipola brothers, Mako, dove across the line for the first try of the day.

Munster worked back into Saracens territory thanks to penalties by the English champs, but Bleyendaal missed the uprights. The Saracens began to really dominate the possession and territory battle.  Munster began to show signs of breaking down, conceding penalty after penalty. The end result was Farrell extending the Saracens’ lead to 13.

Munster begin hemorrhaging penalties as their fate seals

Munster work back to being only 10m from the Saracens line, but are driven back outside of the 22. Bleyendaal tried for the drop kick which is proof of Saracens suffocating defense, but missed short. Simon Zebo eventually gets the ball and starts driving but knocked on and is kicked forward by the Saracens. Owen Farrell grubbered through the defense, Zebo tries to recover but is unable to, allowing Chris Wyles to dot down the ball for another try.

Munster pour in substitutions to get some fresh legs into the match. The penalties continue to mount for Muster and result in good field position for Saracens. Farrell kicked successfully again to shut the door on a potential come back. Munster continued to fight hard for pride, and in the waning moments of the match, C J Stander found his way across for Munster’s only try of the match.

The Saracens pack comes to dominate late in the match

Although starting out rough, Vincent Koch and the Saracens’ front pack ended up dominating the match. Munster had a strong fight through the first half, but the strong Saracens defense allowed for the boa constrictor to do its work and ensure a Saracens win.



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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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