In a highly anticipated pre-seaon friendly ahead of their Pool 4 Heineken Cup ties, Leicester Tigers overcame reigning Heineken Cup champions Munster 26-18 in Musgrave Park, Cork.

Leicester scored four tries, two from Geordan Murphy, and one each from Seru Rabeni and man-of-the-match Sam Vesty.

Munster scored only the two tries, and one of those was late in the game from James Coughlan.

Jeremy Manning scored the other, and slotted two penalties and a conversion to give him a personal points tally of 13.

Tigers head coach Pat Howard said: “If we had put together some parts of the Toulon game and some parts of the Munster game there would be a lot of good things there and you could say we looked ready for the start of the season. But there are also things to work on. We cannot get complacent.

“You could say it is a nice place to be when you are winning but not playing perfectly, and I would say we are definitely heading in the right direction.

“One of the big reasons for coming here was to test the guys in different situations and a different atmosphere, to take them out of their normal surroundings.”

Munster coach Declan Kidney will start the season without reserve hooker Denis Fogarty, who will be out for six months once he undergoes shoulder surgery, reported the Irish Examiner.

Fogarty was reserve to Jerry Flannery in last season’s Heineken Cup campaign following Frankie Sheahan’s neck  injury, but Flannery is also injured at the moment. Sheahan lasted the full 80 minutes of Friday’s friendly, but at the moment he’s the only established hooker available to Kidney.

Trevor Halstead, scorer of the opening try in the final against Biarritz, will miss the start of the season due to a knee injury.

Leicester Tigers:

15 Sam Vesty
14 Geordan Murphy
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Daryl Gibson (captain)
11 Tom Varndell
10 Paul Burke
9 Harry Ellis

8 Henry Tuilagi
7 Shane Jennings
6 Jordan Crane
5 Louis Deacon
4 Leo Cullen
3 Julian White
2 George Chuter
1 Martin Castrogiovanni


Replacements:

Gavin Hickie
Dave Young
Alex Moreno
James Hamilton
Tom Croft
Frank Murphy
Andy Goode
Matt Cornwell
Seru Rabeni

 Munster:

15. C Cullen
14. J Kelly
13. T Gleeson
12. J Downey
11. I Dowling
10. J Manning
9. C Delooze

8. J O’Sullivan
7. B Cutteriss
6. J Coughlan
5. D Ryan
4. C Wyatt
3. F Pucciariello
2. F Sheahan
1. E McGovern

Replacements:

T Ryan
S Cronin
D Ryan
R Noonan
S O’Connor
T O’Leary
S Payne
M Lawlor
E Hickey
C O’Boyle

Referee: David Keane (IRFU)

Touch judges: Alan Rogan and Ken Henley-Willis (both IRFU)