Calvin Nash on the way to scoring a try in South Africa this evening
Munster secured their place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series after defeating the Southern Kings 39-22 at George’s Outeniqua Park.
Tries from Niall Scannell, Calvin Nash, CJ Stander, Dan Goggin, Rhys Marshall and David Kilcoyne sealed the win for Johann van Graan's side in match one of their two match tour of South Africa.
The opening minutes of the game were evenly balanced with the hosts putting up a brave fight early on.
Munster's Dave Kilcoyne was on earlier than expected to earn his 150th cap for the province as James Cronin went off injured, following a blow to his wrist.
The first score of the game came from an Ian Keatley penalty following some hands in the ruck from the home side. The out half, who started full of energy, put his side into the lead after 17 minutes.
Munster were then reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes as second row Gerbrandt Grobler was sin binned in the 24th minute for not using his arms in a clear out of a ruck. The visitors were made to pay for their shortage of numbers when back row Ntsila crossed for a five pointer following a kick through the Munster defence. When Banda kicked the convert, Munster trailed 7-3 after 26 minutes.
It was to get worse for Munster as second row Greeff was on hand to finish off an excellent team move by the Kings, with Makase putting the second row over for a well deserved try after half an hour of the first half. Luckily for Munster, Banda missed the conversion to limit the damage.
As Grobler returned to the field, Munster went further behind as Banda was on hand to kick his first penalty of the day following an infringement at the breakdown by Dave O'Callaghan. Munster then found themselves behind by 15-3.
With time running out in the opening half, Munster came to life in the Kings 22, when carries from Grobler and Kilcoyne allowed Niall Scannell to cross for his side's first five pointer. Keatley however missed the conversion from just to the left of the posts to make it 15-8.
With Dan Goggin in the blood bin, Stephen Fitzgerald stepped in at full back to allow JJ Hanrahan and Ian Keatley operate between 10 and 12 as the half ended. It was JJ Hanrahan at first receiver who set Calvin Nash away for an excellent solo try from the right wing. With the clock in the red, Keatley missed the extras again to leave the score Kings 15 Munster 13 at the short whistle.
Back to 15 men ✅— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 7, 2018
Back in the game ✅
Calvin Nash puts @Munsterrugby within two points of @SouthernKingsSA at the break.
Watch on @TG4TV or @SuperSportTV.#KINvMUN #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/tURDTAtgGr
Keatley would make up for his kicking glitches early in the second half as the former Leinster outhalf made a half break allowing hometown boy CJ Stander to cross for his side's third try of the night. This time Keatley made no mistake as he kicked the conversion leaving the scores 20-15 to Munster.
Keatley was to the fore once more in the 54th minute as he picked up a Kings knock on before setting up a break which involved Rory Scannell, Conor Oliver and Calvin Nash before the Young Munster winger off loaded to his club team mate Dan Goggin who crossed for Munster's fourth try of the night and a try bonus point. JJ Hanrahan took the kick at goal for the convert, but he missed off to the left, leaving the score 25-15 to the visitors.
What An Offload @DanGoggin121113 benefits from some ruthless counter-attacking rugby to give @Munsterrugby a cushion over @SouthernKingsSA.— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 7, 2018
Watch on @TG4TV or @SuperSportTV.#KINvMUN #GUINNESSPRO14 pic.twitter.com/09kIuciq9v
The fifth Munster try came from substitute hooker Rhys Marshall who once more crossed from a short distance to make it double scores at 30-12. When Keatley was on hand to kick the extras he made it 32-15 after 70 minutes.
Not to be out done by his front row partners, David Kilcoyne crossed for Munster's sixth try of the night when the quick thinking of Jack Stafford, on for James Hart, tapped a penalty and passed to the Irish International who was not stopped by the over worked Kings defenders. Keatley once more added the extra two points to leave the score 39-15.
There was a late consolation try for the Kings as Makase crossed for a five pointer having run the length of the pitch in support of Burger. Banda added the convert to make it 39-22 after 75 minutes.
That was to be the final score of the game played in front of a large travelling Munster support. Munster's next game in South Africa is a tie with the Cheetahs next Friday night.
Southern Kings: M Banda; M Makase, J Nel, B Klaasen, Y Penxe; M Du Toit, G Masimla; S Ferreira (capt), S Coetzee, P Scholtz; S Greeff, B De Wee; A Ntsila, M Burger, R Lerm.
Replacements: A Van Rooyen, J Forwood, L Pupuma, L Mtyanda, L Badiyana, R Von Rooyen, N Dukisa, L Vulindlu.
Munster: JJ Hanrahan; C Nash, D Goggin, R Scannell, A Wootton; I Keatley, J Hart; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan; J Kleyn, G Grobler; D O'Callaghan, C Oliver, CJ Stander (capt).
Replacements: R Marshall, D Kilcoyne, B Scott, B Holland, J O'Donoghue, J Stafford, S Fitzgerald, R Copeland.