Home Sport Too much kicking as tame SA A fail to ignite against Munster

Too much kicking as tame SA A fail to ignite against Munster


In front of a passionate crowd of over 41 000 at the Pairc Ui Chaoimh stadium, it was the home side who were the more organised unit as they ran up a 21-7 halftime lead.

SA A fullback Aphelele Fassi gets ready to dive over for a try against Munster in Cork. Picture: Ryan Byrne, INPHO, Shutterstock, BackpagePix

Cape Town – South Africa A captain Thomas du Toit called on his teammates “to throw our names in the hat to play for the Springboks”, but none of the players really made a case for Test selection in a disappointing 28-14 defeat to Munster in Cork on Thursday night.

As expected, the visitors looked disjointed for most of the first half after just a few days of training this week upon arrival in Ireland, and the increasing intensity of the rain made life even more difficult for Du Toit’s side as the game wore on.

In front of a passionate crowd of over 41,000 at the Pairc Ui Chaoimh stadium, it was the home side who were the more organised unit as they ran up a 21-7 halftime lead.

The South Africans were packed with exciting players, but they hardly fired a shot as the likes of scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies and fullback Aphelele Fassi continually kicked the ball away via box-kicks and grubbers, with speedsters Leolin Zas, Henco van Wyk and Suleiman Hartzenberg seldom getting the ball in their hands.

Munster showed the visitors how it should be done, with slick passing down the backline resulting in an easy try for big wing Shane Daly in the third minute.

The SA A forwards had the edge in the scrums via Sharks duo Du Toit and Ntuthuko Mchunu, while Joseph Dweba achieved good success with his lineout-throwing, where No.5 lock Ruan Nortjé was the chief target.

No.8 Jean-Luc du Preez – who was probably the best SA A player on the night – added real grunt with his carries and offloads as well, but time and again the visitors were unable to get their driving maul going forward.

When the ball did go out to the backline, flyhalf Johan Goosen was often found too deep in the pocket instead of lining up flatter on attack.

Goosen, though, managed to get a long pass away for Fassi to finish and level the scores at 7-7 in the 13th minute, following a strong surge from Cornal Hendricks off a scrum.

SA A battled to find their rhythm with ball-in-hand for the rest of the first half, and it was Munster who took advantage of the possession coming their way as wing Simon Zebo and hooker Diarmuid Barron crossed the tryline for a 21-7 lead at the break.

And when fullback Mike Haley grabbed a fourth five-pointer early in the second half from a well-weighted grubber by flyhalf Ben Healy, it looked like it was going to be a long night for coach Mzwandile Stick and his team.

But the introduction of Grant Williams at scrumhalf brought a much-needed spark to the attack, with the Sharks star immediately coming up with a clean break from a scrum – although his pass to Hendricks was too low and led to a knock-on.

Hartzenberg was denied a try in the 56th minute due to a foot in touch, but SA A were eventually rewarded for their endeavour in the second half when replacement No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe placed the ball on the line off the back of yet another massive scrum.

That was as good as it got for SA A, though, and Stick will hope for a much better performance in their second tour match against Bristol next Thursday.


Munster 28 – Tries: Shane Daly, Simon Zebo, Diarmuid Barron, Mike Haley. Conversions: Ben Healy (4).

SA A 14 – Tries: Aphelele Fassi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe. Conversions: Johan Goosen (1), Gianni Lombard (1).

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