The Leicester European adventure is over for another season after 20 points from the start of Ian Keatley of Munster that condemned the Tigers to their third home defeat in this competition for a decade. The hosts can take a little comfort: Manu Tuilagi played the 80 minutes of his first game since the first day of the season and improved as the match progressed, but without points.
They are rooted at the bottom of Group 4 and need to beat both Racing 92 and Castres to have some chance to advance to the next stage. For Munster, however, another quarterfinal flame. CJ Stander was imperious in the last row and perhaps the most obvious difference between the two sides was the ability of the visitors to score when their opponents had less than 14 men.
Leicester's determination to physically match his visitors, having been intimidated in front of Thomond Park seven days earlier, was obvious, but Dan Cole's enthusiasm overcame him. He conceded four penalties within the first 23 minutes and his fifth, just before the break, earned him a yellow card.
To be fair to Leicester, they were much more aggressive than last week; his line speed was impressive, but his collective discipline was not and this allowed Munster to firmly exercise his authority as the game progressed. However, it took time for visitors to find their way. Keatley shuddered in the early stages and, while he and George Ford exchanged penalties, it was no surprise that Leicester scored the first try.
It was scored by Mathew Tait, who stood out on the back, after a clever retreat pass by Graham Kitchener. Munster's defense allowed Tait to openly carve a touch too easily, but it was a classy 31-year-old end, nonetheless.
Munster recovered, his forwards did the heavy lifting, and Keatley was able to put them ahead at halftime with three additional penalties; but Leicester could at least rejoice in his revolt defense. Tuilagi collided with Chris Cloete, without much use of the arms, and the impact caused the Munster flanker to spill the ball. Then, Tait did it magnificently when he looked for a loose ball in his own line, but, when the half was coming to an end, Munster approached more and more to break the prey and Cole went to the cube of sin.
Conor Murray had a long-range shot to the goal with the last half action, pushed it to the right, but it was his scything career at the start of the second that brought Munster's first attempt, with Stander shooting at close range. Keatley converted for a nine-point lead.
Tait was summoned again to cleanse himself with Simon Zebo chasing him, but the Tigers could have been away if Tuilagi had kept the ingenious kick of George Ford at the top. The signs of rust were understandable, but, to his credit, he was pursuing the chase after a characteristic maze race and Jonny May's kick lifted the crowd on Welford Road. Equally, it was not a surprise to see Cloete eating the ground to beat the end of England.
On the way back Cole arrived, and Leicester, encouraged by May's magic, reduced the gap to six with another Ford penalty. The Tigers' tails were in this stage, Tait again did everything possible to free the left and increased significantly when Munster's replacement support, John Ryan, received a yellow card for infringing on the fault. The subsequent penalty of Ford made the Leicester return to three.
Two lost kicks by Keatley, one per drop and the other by penalty, did not contribute to Leicester's hopes of reviving, but Munster's fly was on the way with his next attempt from the tee and, when it was again a couple of minutes Later, the Tigers had lost the rank of bonus points.
The Leicester fans were treated to at least two delayed breaks from Tuilagi in what they should expect is a sign of things to come, with Saracens and Exeter at the helm and the Premiership is surely now their only goal. But if the recent trip from central England to see a witch doctor has had the desired effect, the Tigers certainly could not break Munster's spell.
Leicester Tait; Thompstone (Malouf, 70), Tuilagi, Toomua, May; G Ford, B Youngs; Traynor (Mulipola, 29), T Youngs (capt, Polota-Nau, 57), Cole, Fitzgerald, Kitchener (Barrow, 70), Mapapalangi, Williams (Hamilton, 57), Kalamafoni.
Try Tait. With Ford. Pens Ford 3.
Sin-bin Cole 41
Munster Zebo; Sweetnam, Arnold, R Scannell, Wootton; Keatley, Murray; Kilcoyne (Scott, 67), O & # 39; Byrne (N Scannell, 58), Archer (Ryan, 58), Kleyn, Holland, O & # 39; Mahony, Cloete (O & # 39; Donoghue, 67), Stander.
Test Stander. Cons Keatley. Keatley pens 6.
Sin-bin Ryan 61. Referee M Raynal (Fra). Assistance 23,100.