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PREVIEW: Tigers aiming to repeat history

Tuesday 8th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Avant de les retrouver la semaine prochaine à Leicester

Avant de les retrouver la semaine prochaine à Leicester

Munster’s formidable home record in Europe’s top flight is set to be put to the test as they welcome in-form Leicester Tigers to Thomond Park.

Tigers have won their last four matches in all competitions, including a stunning comeback from 17-0 down to win 29-20 against Worcester Warriors on Saturday. It equalled the Tigers’ biggest points turnaround in their 135-year history.

Their form is in stark contrast to hosts Munster, who go into the clash having lost two consecutive PRO12 fixtures for the first time since May 2014.

Connacht caused a huge upset as they clinched a first win at Thomond Park for 29 years and then Anthony Foley’s side were humbled by the Newport Gwent-Dragons at Rodney Parade on Sunday.

Despite their troubles over the last few weeks, Munster still boast one of the best Champions Cup records around having won an incredible 62 of their 66 home matches in the competition.

But the Tigers are one of the few sides to have toppled the Munstermen on their own patch with a famous 13-6 win in January 2007.

Geordan Murphy and Ollie Smith scored tries to make the Tigers the first side to have won at Thomond Park in Europe for 12 seasons.

In fact, in the four times the two clubs have met in Europe neither side has won on their own patch.

The Tigers came out on top when they met in the 2001/02 final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, a game which will be remember as much for Neil Back’s cheeky manoeuvre in the final moments to knock the ball out of Peter Stringer’s hand as he prepared to put it into a scrum as it will be for the 15-9 scoreline.

The following season Munster got their revenge with a 20-7 victory in the quarter finals before losing the semi-final to Toulose by a single point.

In 2006/07 Munster beat the Tigers 21-19 away from home before the famous defeat at Thomond Park to bring to an end 12 seasons of dominance at home.

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REPORT: Leicester stun Thomond to take control

Saturday 12th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Dans son antre de Thomond Park

Dans son antre de Thomond Park

Leicester Tigers stunned Thomond Park with a quick-fire pair of first-half tries to send them on their way to a 31-19 triumph over Munster to take control of Pool Four.

Scores from Vereniki Goneva and Mike Fitzgerald just before the break swung the game in the visitors favour. Sean Cronin dabbed down to get Munster back in it before Ben Youngs sniped over, and Mike Sherry’s try was too little, too late for Munster.

Leicester have three wins from three as they head back to Welford Road for the return leg next Sunday, and will be confident of progressing from pool four.

The Tigers were given the chance to make a perfect start when Munster offended at a ruck, just 40 seconds after the first whistle. Welsh playmaker Owen Williams made no mistake and Leicester were 3-0 ahead after just two minutes.

The early setback sparked Munster into life, as they made their way deep into Tigers territory thanks to breaks from Robin Copeland and CJ Stander. Their furious tempo forced Leicester to offend and Ian Keatley brought the hosts level.

The kickers exchanged penalties before the Tigers roared into the ascendancy. The visitors overpowered Munster to drive 20 metres before being brought down inches short. But the ball was moved left to Goneva, who showed sublime footwork to brush off Keatley and finish at the corner.

And it got even better five minutes later. Munster had a defensive lineout, but hooker Niall Scannell overthrew straight into the hands of Fitzgerald, who smashed his way over the line to score. Williams converted to hand his side an 18-6 half-time lead.

But the Munstermen came out firing in-front of the Thomond faithful and claimed an opportunistic score from Cronin. The prop touched the ball down after Leicester formed a ruck and the ball was placed over the line. And it got worse for the Tigers when Marcos Ayerza tackled Conor Murray late and was sent to the sin-bin. Keatley converted the resulting penalty to bring it back to 18-14.

But Leicester weathered the storm with a try of their own. Seremi Bai’s chip was collected by Keith Earls, but Leicester rucked over to win the ball back. That gave Young’s the chance to snipe around Frances Sailli and past Copeland to score. Sherry crossed to give Munster hope, but Tommy Bell’s pair of penalties kept Leicester at arm’s length.

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