Munster kicked 12 unanswered points in the second half – including a monster 57-metre penalty from Conor Murray – to complete a superb comeback and win 19-17 at the Cheetahs in Pro14.
The inclusion of former South Africa international Johan Goosen in the hosts’ line-up dominated the build-up to Friday’s clash, with the fly-half appearing for the first time since December 2016.
Goosen had departed Racing 92 at that time, aged 24, to seemingly take up a role as a commercial director at a horse stud farm in Bloemfontein – much to the chagrin of the French club.
Widespread reports have suggested Goosen will sign for Racing’s Top 14 rivals Montpellier next season, and he was back in professional action in Bloemfontein, kicking seven points in the Cheetahs’ narrow defeat.
The home side, seeking the victory that would have secured a play-off berth, made a fine start and were 14-0 up inside half an hour thanks to scores from Clayton Blommetjies and Tian Meyer – both converted by Goosen.
Murray came off the bench late in the first half and scored within a minute before Goosen’s penalty handed the Cheetahs a 10-point lead at the interval.
Three J.J. Hanrahan kicks reduced that gap to one just after the hour and, when Munster won another penalty just inside their own half, Murray slotted a mammoth effort to complete the turnaround and ensure home advantage in their play-off semi-final qualifier.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 13, 2018
Munster can no longer secure top spot and a direct route to the semis, however, after Glasgow Warriors scored four tries in defeating Connacht 35-22 – Scotland internationals Stuart Hogg, Alex Dunbar, Fraser Brown and Henry Pyrgos all crossing the whitewash.
Meanwhile, Alun Wyn Jones’ 150th Pro14 appearances was one to forget for the Ospreys, who lost out 8-0 at Ulster thanks to John Cooney’s penalty and Jacob Stockdale’s last-minute try.
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