Pro14: Munster made to work for 30-26 win over Cheetahs in Bloemfontein
|Cheetahs (5) 26|
|Tries: Dweba 2, Nche, Smith Cons: Shoeman3|
|Munster (15) 30|
|Tries: Botha, O'Byrne, Coombes, Haley Cons: Johnston 2 Pens: Johnston, Scannell|
Munster had to come from behind to defeat a brave challenge from the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
A Mike Haley try and a Rory Scannell penalty in the final 15 minutes saw the visitors come back from 26-22 down to win 30-26.
Johann van Graan's men had opened up a 17-point lead early in the second half but fell behind to converted tries from Ox Nche, Joseph Dweba and Rhyno Smith.
It was a fifth win in eight Pro14 games for Munster.
Van Graan had made nine changes from the dramatic win over Glasgow with Bill Johnston and Fineen Wycherley making their first starts and Tyler Bleyendaal captaining the province on his first start for nine months.
Johnston wasted no time in making his mark as he slotted a penalty after 10 minutes.
Munster then got the first try of the game when they got to the line after a quick tap and Arno Botha showed the strength he is renowned for to power over the line.
Dweba got the first points on the board for the home side as he capitalised on a good drive by his pack to score and reduce the lead to three points.
Munster ended the half strongly and went in 15-5 up at the break. Kevin O'Byrne broke free from a weak Cheetahs maul to evade the tackle of Junior Sipato Pokomela and finish from close range, with Johnston adding the extras.
Cheetahs produce dramatic turnaround
The visitors looked like they were on course for a comfortable victory when Liam Coombes marked his debut with a try and Johnston once again added the conversion.
But the Cheetahs had other ideas and three tries in the space of 13 minutes - all converted by Tian Schoeman - produced a dramatic turnaround which gave them a 26-22 lead with 16 minutes to go.
Ox Nche went over on 52 minutes, Dweba added his second of the game six minutes later and Rhyno Smith went over for the third to pave the way for an unlikely lead.
However, it wasn't to be for the Conference A basement side as a Haley try in the 68th minute put Munster in front again and Scannell's penalty four minutes from time made sure of the win.
Cheetahs: Smith; Small-Smith, van Rensburg, Lee, Maxwane; Schoeman, S Venter (capt); Nche, Dweba, Coetzee, Steenkamp, du Preez, Olivier, Pokamela, Davis
Replacements: R Venter, Marais, de Jager, Manjezi/Basson, Maartens, Nonkontwana, Meyer, Fouche
Munster: Haley; Daly, Arnold, Bleyendaal (capt), Wootton; Johnston, Mathewson; Cronin, O'Byrne, Archer, Kleyn, O'Shea, Wycherley, Cloete, Botha
Replacements: Sherry, Loughman, Ryan, O'Connor, Coombes, Williams, Keatley, Scannell
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)