There was one undeniable man of the match from Saracens victory over Munster today 6 years ago

There was one undeniable man of the match from Saracens victory over Munster today


For about 50 minutes, Munster were right in there and fighting for a return to the European Cup final.


Then Saracens did what they had butchered while trying to do on three separate occasions - scored a try. Mako Vunipola got the ball grounded on the Munster white-wash and made up for what had been, up to that point, a chastening performance.

Vunipola will vye with Jack McGrath for a starting loose-head spot on the Lions Tour to New Zealand. Munster tight-head is not going with Warren Gatland's men but going by this afternoon's game, he should be.

Ryan was a demon at the scrum for Munster and had the crowd hoarse in the early stages. Red Wave was the hashtag leading up to the game and, time and time again, it crashed over Sarries at the set-piece. Such was Munster's dominance in the collisions that it should have led to more than a paltry '3' on their side of the scoreboard.

If Ryan and Simon Zebo were the best on show for Munster, Vincent Koch was the best player on the pitch.


The South African tight-head put in a beastly performance as Sarries began to find their footing before eventually driving Munster back and rubbing their noses in it. Aside from getting the better of Dave Kilcoyne, Koch landed 13 tackles, didn't miss one, and made four strong carries.

He was so good that Brian O'Driscoll awarded him the BT Sport man-of-the-match and no-one was for disagreeing.

The only blip in Ryan's performance arrived on 63 minutes when, with Rhys Marshall now on as Munster hooker, Vunipola got the better of him in a scrum on the 22. Owen Farrell slotted it over to make it 16-3 and Stephen Archer came on for the last quarter.


Ryan had given it his all for well over an hour - doing everything that was asked of him and more - but this Saracens team are not European champions for nothing. They dug in when the game entered their red zone and they defended like dogs.

They defended like the Munster of old.

Saracens are the best team in Europe right now. Munster are not far off but, tonight and in the days that follow, it will feel like they are.